I wrote a lot of poetry when I was younger. I was inspired by both actual poets and song lyrics. On the poetry side there was Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, and Lewis Carroll. On the song lyric side there was Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and The Beatles. There were others in both camps, but far too many to name here. These were the main ones who inspired me to try my hand at verse. In fact, I was writing poetry long before I wrote my first short story.
Later, of course, there was Shakespeare, Poe, Byron, Shelly, ee cummings, Plath, Bukowski, and…well, basically anyone I could find.
But over the years I transitioned from mainly writing poetry to mainly writing fiction. Writing poems fell by the wayside in my late twenties, although I still read it when the mood strikes. Whitman’s Leaves of Grass is probably my favorite collection, specifically the final version (he revised it several times). I usually take a paperback copy of it to the beach so I can lay in the sun, listen to the surf, and lose myself in Whitman’s descriptions of nature, love, and being human.
I really love poetry. I’ve gone to readings here in town and even participated in one, once. It was the first time I’d ever read in front of an audience and it was terribly awkward for me. My partner was encouraging afterwards, but she also pointed out that I read so quickly that it was over before anyone realized it. That explained the delayed sporadic applause. Live and learn, right?
I did have a few of my verses published years ago. Two were in a literary magazine, the other was in the local newspaper’s Arts & Entertainment section. Nothing to really brag about, but I was still proud of the accomplishment.
And for the curious, here is one I wrote that was published in The Eyrie literary magazine back in 1996.
The door slams shut with finality
and I hear your footsteps
fading into the night like a forgotten echo.
You are gone
but your parting words still hang in the air, swarming
and circling like moths to my flame.
The words are still charged, static, crackling
in my ears and shorting out my weary synapses.
You are gone like a passing memory, though
the room still reverberates with your anger,
the air is still thick with your heat.
You are gone,
without even saying good-bye or good-riddance.
And now I sit here in front of the television
as unseen images flash by
and I wonder
where you hid the remote control.
Lately, I’ve been feeling an urge to get back into poetry. Maybe I’ve been away from it for too long. If I do, I’ll be sure to share it here on my blog. Until then…