Today was hard.
It was spent in the presence of someone I’d rather never set eyes on again. It was spent in pursuit of justice. It was spent blinking back tears and swallowing my revulsion.
There is still anger burning within me that I cannot quench. My heart is heavy with the reopening of old wounds.
And I am powerless, unable to do anything but look on and observe.
I suppose it’s a good thing that I don’t have the psychic power to set someone on fire from across the room. I could do so, quite willingly, if I were able.
It’s fair to say that if a certain person did happen to spontaneously combust, I would make good use of my bottle of water by drinking it.
I do not, as a rule, harbour such feelings toward other people. I am fully aware of my own sins and imperfections. But when people commit to the unconscionable and then defend it, any concept of “benefit of the doubt” or “we all make mistakes” is well and truly cast aside.
I can feel another horror story coming on, but it’s not ready to be written yet. The ideas need to percolate more. And so, I must bide my time.
It will come… and, I trust, so will justice.
Last week I was talking with Sean about my poetry. He challenged me to write something that wasn’t dark and negative. I had to admit that while my prose writing is quite varied, there was definitely a mean streak in my poetry.
I promised that at some point, I’d give writing some more positive poetry a shot.
That got me to thinking about why I write the way I do.
Lately, my poetry has been the place where I’ve been able to say what I think and feel when it would be inappropriate to say those things aloud to the people who need to hear them. Keeping one’s friends and one’s job is generally considered to be a good thing. Writers have long considered their work a place of refuge and sanctuary from the world around them, and a safe venue in which to voice their thoughts and responses to the difficulties that life throws at them.
This week was a tough one on a number of levels, and it’s not unusual for me to get very creative when I’m feeling oppressed. On Thursday night, another friend told me that she was concerned that my writing might get me into trouble if the wrong people were to read it.
“How?” I asked her. “Nobody is identified, not even me. No place or situation is specified. It could be about anyone, or anything.” Besides, I thought to myself, those would be the right people.
To be honest, if someone reads one of my darker poems and thinks it’s about them, which it most likely is not, they probably need to take a long, hard look at themselves to see if there’s an issue they need to address. As they saying goes, “If the shoe fits, lace that sucker up and wear it.”
My writing is about my experiences and my feelings, or those of the people close to me, but it’s not specific to us. Sometimes, it’s pure fiction. My intention is to share glimpses of human experience, emotions, and responses to the challenges of survival in a difficult world. I’m really not always angry; those are just the poems that are the most cathartic to write. It’s the least expensive therapy known to mankind.
This week, I’ve managed two poems in a row that are not angry. In my writing “career” so far, that’s quite an accomplishment. Sean’s challenge has reminded me that I can still tap into powerful feelings and experiences without sounding like I want to hurt someone. That’s probably a very good thing.
If you’d like to read my writing, you’re more than welcome.
It’s not about you.