Lessons from a Paperless Poet


Why I write? I write because you told me to

Because you encountered history and literature but never met a pen or page

You were right.

Right hands learnt motions of creativity

creating a script that spelled first person accounts of the most complex memoirs

memories of every character leaving ink-prints

imprints on the soul.

So boldly marked in ageless pages,

its as though you wrote and marked infinity with some poetic prose

But you did not write

because your hands that raised nations never did learn to caress a borrowed pen


Every battle was fought at the front line of the river injustice flowing.

Bloody feet each step a protest, each step scaring toes and soles.

Soul strong soldier, not hindered by the fleshes tendency to sweat 

Sweet to the dreamer are the scares of hard work, a reward you knew you would not taste or

Waist, back and feet would bear blisters from journeys the distance of generations away

Far were the fruits of hopes which your cuts and bruises would buy

Pay attention to those sores and one can see in their cross-sections the traces of hope.

so profound were the wounds,

its as though with your footprints you wrote and imprinted eternity with some poetic prose

But you could not write

because sweat never did turn into enough nuggets of gold to purchase the kind ink found in fountain pens


You rose before the sun to wash white linen

White wash the traces of the most vile acts of brutality that it had hosted the night before

When even the sun was too ashamed to bear witness

Testaments of a painful yesterday fluttered most delicately in the cool wind

Blowing the dirty laundry of the household to which you were a slave, aired out to dry

Draining from you over the years several molecules of hydrogen and oxygen life 

Water is not enough and the remnants of tears and wrinkles are residue to be faced

So deep the stains of pain over time 

its as though every sheet carries the fragrance your story written in the wind to perfume history with some poetic prose

But you would not write  

because those linen sheets never really did become as pure as a clean page of paper from which every story begins


I only clearly see now why at every one of our meetings I was instructed to write; to write and re-gather literature, be it trapped by fear, soaked in pain or carelessly lost in the wind 

The piece of floor we shared on any given day was an opportunity for me to recapture messages lost in the wind by drying linen or stuck in the crevasse of pavements that held up bloody tired and overworked feet or indeed those messages strangled in tender long suffering right hands that possessed a million motions but have yet to learn a certain stenographic fluidity.

I regret that at 6 I was too young to transcribe your words and bring your stories to pen, to life outside of breath, sweat and blood.

I regret that I may never be old or wise enough to be a worthy bearer of your essence 

But I refuse to regret that I did not try and so I write. 

I write to try.

I write following the style of Keats and Frost, Angelou and Simone. But tracing only your right handwriting, your footprints in the wind. I write poems like this; clumsily yet honestly constructed. from the basics of any virgin attempt to write. Anthologies are but the children of alphabet; ABA, ABC, BCB. Poems like this one, called why I write. 

I write so that stories unwritten are not stories untold lost before their creation 

so that the poems within the dead blank spaces between written words may breathe in you.

so that lessons shared outside of books can have color illustrations 

so that education disseminated by illiterate teachers can inspire generations 

so that for lack of pens, minds will not go hungry and lies will never pose true 

so that the liberty of paperless letters written by slaves and servants will never again be sold


so that the artistry of past suffering can bring us through

and the poems of our mothers will never grow cold 

I write because she told me to.


MVP-Most Valuable Poet

very exquisite

provided an in depth perspective on why you write

creatively amazing poem

continue to originate your style of poetry

this is a poem i can imagine you reciting/performing at an open mic

great job and keep writing

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