I'm going to do something that's probably kinda stupid.
Twice now, I've done the "write a blog post every day for 30 days and don't die in the process" challenge. I haven't died, and I learned something, and it helped me grow as a writer...and it was stressful. (Because yes, even self-imposed stress is stressful when you set a goal and hold yourself rigidly to it).
I've wanted to do the "write a poem every day for 30 days challenge" for a while now. It's harder than the "write something every day" challenge, because...duh...poetry...and that has scared me away. But I'm going to do it, for several reasons.
1). I think of poems all the time, and I'm too lazy to write them down. If my brain had a secretary, I could end the day with all sorts of writing done. If I stop being so lazy, I could at least write something every day. And then I won't be mad at myself for letting beautiful words escape and die.
2). I still freak out about my poetry, and it always feels like this Big Thing that I'm writing, and I stress about it before, during and after I write it. Writing blog posts for 30 days helped me get over the freak out of posting things that might not be perfect and letting others read it. I'm hopeful this could do the same thing.
3). I need to get okay with writing shitty poetry sometimes. I let a lot of really good lines of poetry die because I can't find the right words to put around them. I think if I let go of some of that pressure and just wrote the shitty poem, my poetry could become better.
4). Because my brain is really busy with lots of things I don't want it to be busy with, and I'd rather give it something to focus on. To borrow a phrase from my grandmother, I am "busier than a one-armed paper hanger." But...I'm going to do this. Because it'll build character or something.
5). Poetry helps me to remember the extraordinary in the simple things. It helps me to know what I'm feeling. It helps me to connect with myself and others. It connects me to something bigger...I don't know if it's god, or spirit, or love, or humanity, or what it is, but poetry helps me to feel the presence of something that is bigger than me, bigger than this, that I can't quite explain. I need more of that.
So here's what I'm going to do: I am going to try really hard not to expect brilliance and perfection. I am going to try really hard not to stress about it. I am going to try not to spend more than 30 minutes on the poem. I am going to try to be okay with shitty poems. I might not post them every day, but I will write one, every day, for 30 days.
So with all of that said, here is day 1:
On being watched at the park
The man at the park sits across from me, watching me read.
His face is sad, and vacant, and his eyes rest blankly on my bench.
I glance at him, before noticing the way
the words on the page sound in the wind.
It is cold in the shade.
Too cold for June,
and my goose bumps make speed bumps
that slow the ant crawling over my arm.
I watch it slow.
The tree beside me is scarred
with names she might rather forget,
but I notice the way she bent her branches
to the only patch of sky.
He continues to watch me and I wonder
if he can see the music, the rhythm, the magic
the way my Heart is slowing for the first time in days
the way she knows we have spent too long in the shade
the way she carries the scars
and when I push her tenderness away
the way she reaches my cells
for the sun.
I catch his eye to say,
'carry on, sir, in your watching.
We both know there is mystery,
and sadness here.'