Grown Up, Writing

One of my earliest memories is of a cousin and myself

making a game of  “Grown-Up Writing”

when we were maybe 3 & 4 years old.

I imagine a grandparent hurried to grab some notebooks

and a few stray ink pens from some drawer

to keep us children unheard

while the adults gathered in the kitchen

with their great grown-up voices

 

but all I heard were the words streaming out

like ribbon at my fingertips. I fell

lost in the fluid blue waves, smooth and curling

across the paper- an ocean of curls and loops

breaking only where they must…

and I cannot guess now what I might have been saying

but I knew those ‘words’ were mine; that I had brought them into being

and then, there was no more patience left at all

for the words-  imagine all the words! I had ahead of me

 

Learning to read felt like Magic

(because it was!)

and in the third grade, Ms. Gillespie-

Mizz Enchantress-

gave real Magic lessons

in her classroom of nine-year-old apprentice Magicians — —

We could conjure our very own metaphors and similes,

and finally! she taught the secret language made of curls and loops

and how we hook and smooth our letters together

so they dance upon their stage for the whole world to see

 

(  … Now, if you’ll please excuse the way I will quite fantasize my history )

 

I grew up sitting cross-legged

with Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary in my lap

collecting words like merit badges, believing

I must earn my very voice and bide my time to ever speak.

I crafted my collections, all in secret,

into stories and confessions,

out in longhand, into spiral notebooks,

in three decades time

… but never into poetry-

a lifetime written without Plath or Bukowski

Oh, but then!

 

and these twelve years since, spent all in attempt

to make poems of my own-

I have made myself an island; I am, myself, home.

Still, I fear how I must somehow, too

be all tangled waves of curls and loops

making childish demands to be read as poetry

to a world too concerned with their great grown-up voices

to ever recognize or reconcile any of my scribbling…

 

-B.

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