There's a poem that I'll never write,
It's under lock and key.
There's one I'm keeping out of sight -
The poem that is me.
Beneath a mask of jokes and puns,
Behind the rhymes and rowdy fun,
I worry I'm the only one
That feels behind,
So little done,
My understanding's just begun.
'Cause sharing me takes bravery
And writing this lets others see
My worries and anxiety,
How soft my outer shell can be.
But feelings I keep out of sight,
I see you feel them too.
This poem that I'm soon to write -
It's also about you.
It can be difficult to share things we write. When I first started making poems, I had a difficult time sharing them with anyone, even my own family. I started out with only funny poems and they would really make me chuckle as I read them to myself, but I wasn’t so sure how other people would react. Well, thankfully my poems did make a few people laugh when I finally started sharing a few with family and friends, but it was a much bigger leap to start posting my poems online and in social media for everyone else to see. Then it was an even bigger leap for me when I started writing the occasional serious poem. It takes bravery to create something that represents your real self. I was concerned that people might find the feelings I was sharing to be upsetting, cliche, petty, or just plain annoying. The more feeling I put into a poem, the less brave I felt about sharing it. Once in a while, someone does find my work rediculous and may even tell me so outright. Sometimes even I go back and read something I wrote and think, “what the shnoobers was I thinking?” But I’ve also learned that much of the things I’m hesitant to share are the very things that other people will relate to the most. It’s a big sigh of relief for me and my readers when something I say matches up with feelings they have had or are experiencing right now. It’s also nice to know that I’m not the only 40 year-old that still find poems about pee-pee dances and throwing up to be funny. We have more in common with others than we realize and that should help us share our thoughts with confidence. Not everyone has to like my oddball poems and my cartoony scribbles of people losing eyballs, but someone out there will get it and be glad I shared.
Write, draw, dance, sing, rap, or do whatever creative thing you do with real feeling. Keep plugging away at it and trying new methods. You may never be famous, but there is still great value in it.
A note about this poem style. I really like the idea of putting contradictions into my poems to make a point stronger. In this case, the poem I’m writing is the very one I claim that I will never write. I also like to use phrases such as “burning cold” and “here and nowhere”. You can try this out by writing first down a phrase or a story and then picking a few words to flip to their opposites. This can surprisingly strengthen the mood or idea that you were trying to create. Using contradictions on purpose can also steer a poem or story in a new direction you hadn’t thought of.