Once, recovering from a break up, I woke up at 2:39 a.m., almost crying. I’d just had a bunch of confusing dreams about using a malfunctioning toilet installed in someone’s couch, while everyone was hanging around and chatting. Of course, the toilet malfunctioned, I woke up, and these four poems were born.
I wrote the first one on my phone, because I couldn’t think where I left my paper and pen (right by the bed, of course). I wrote it in an email to myself, in a dark room with only the eye-burning light of my phone screen and a bunch of stupid autocorrects. 2:51 a.m., done, light off, head back on the pillow. Number two promptly shows up and I reach for the phone again. I respond to my first email, with the second poem, starting an odd call-and-response email chain with myself. Four poems later, it’s 3:35 a.m. and I’m done. I’m transcribing them here, with little editing, because I think the first drafts are usually most real.
Why am I blogging about this? Because I learned an extraordinary thing – I learned, finally, what I’d always heard: that poetry is what you use to express feelings that don’t truly have words. I’ve never been a poetry girl, prose is my gig, so this is a Big Deal. I finally understand that sometimes, telling a story or writing a reflection or observation simply doesn’t cut the mustard. Sometimes, you have to use words to shape something that has no shape or color or smell, nothing except itself, surging through your being.
I do not fancy myself a poet, but experience made me feel like one.