Of Poetry and Healing: Well strung-together syllables prove better than platelets

Tue, 08/13/2013 - 01:46 -- Acadian



      It began with button.

“Butt-uhnn” I said excitedly while pointing at my mother's navel, and then my own indentation where I was once attached.  

 Heard of the word "love" along with basic nouns and verbs, before ever knowing that it wouldn't properly describe the nature or brutality of our relationship. A bonding cycle baking chocolate chip cookies and hearing the sound of the wooden spoon hit bone.

 An absent father that turned to alcohol and Alaskan fishing boats to get away from the reality of it all.  In hopes one or the other would kill him before remembering his tattered heart did.

  Even little more than a meter high I wanted more from my world. An insatiable curiosity, that I can attest, was not fatal cause for the first cat.  

  Wished for mountains of sugar like lucid dreaming; miles of freedom. Reaching new heights.

Forbade to watch cable television at home until after I’d already started menstruating.  After I questioned the Sunday school teacher on scientific validity in certain scriptures.

  Periodically stole Plath, Alexie and Palahniuk from the library (most were eventually returned). Admired each salacious sentence under a sliver of moon beam with a daring eye-strain.

 Consuming facts and fiction in forms of magical adventures far from my bedroom. Still famished.  

  Soon after my words exponentially grew within me to the point I would gag while trying to swallow them back down on occasion.  With flushed cheeks, it became rather difficult to take them all in and keep them there, quietly filling me to the brim.  

 Felt like bursting into brightly lettered confetti.

  So, I whispered poetry to myself on walks through the softly echoing woods. Nothing truly permanent for fear of leaving a trace to persecute me by. Yet, when the ephemeral aspect of scrawling them down on school lunch napkins wore off skin seemed more appropriate to my needs.

  Each word was etched delicately on the soft pink surface, "dumb-shit", "engulfed", "lush". Some monograms now illegible in scar tissue. Some more or less brash.

 Soon they started to escape me.  I parted my lips slightly and let forth a swarm.  Even when my intentions were as harmless as honey dripping, the buzz always brought wild eyes in my direction.

  I was educated in rules of proper etiquette with lashings; from observation of degradation. The blows dealt by her hand were never as powerful as those from thine tongue.

  Found out that those rhymes squealed in playgrounds about sticks and stones knew nothing of our language nor politics. Or pains of a pure heart that will stay far after the scabs have healed.

  Learned a lesson in speaking up, in overcoming silence proliferated with improv prayers.  

Uttering sacrifices to the unknown in hope it would make my surroundings unburdened  Or at least let the struggle become understood as more than just a false prescription of teen angst.

  The truth isn’t always neat, but the house was.  An obsessive-compulsive motivation tried to make me fit into a mold of the perfect daughter; pressed pleated skirts and peter-pan collars.

 One day the music, books, diaries and sketches were deemed as inappropriate, as a luxury I couldn’t be afforded. Some were set aflame, like a plot I read once.

  Plath became more appealing, and Cummings made me cry, as I was not concerned with money or chores, but at the consuming isolation that surrounded when people started to vanish, too.

  A network of language had held my hopes together. The only thing above opposable thumbs that seemed to support humans are of a superior species are our means of communication, of connection. With fingers broken and pencils and pens still I felt partially crippled.

Creating came as a substantial form of therapy, more natural than pills or punishment to flesh. Careful diction managed to give me control of the continuing saga.

  Times in which writing a piece and expelling it into a public space, are more terrifying prospects than committing a crime worthy of a record may also be the most revealing of their vitality.  

 Though it is to be known that the world’s history before it’s collected into oversimplified sentences in textbooks was only fully known by those who documented those tragedies and survived.

  Still drenaline mixes with cortisol in my bloodstream, a sharp sense of urgency followed by committing it all to record till my cursive becomes sloppy or hand cramps on the keyboard.  


And tomorrow I will rewrite it to be better.

  I will show you how light filters through our pupils, what a wealth we have in tongues and fingers to articulate with and how not to live off fodder or in fear of failure.

  I will tell you a story about survival you’ve never heard before.

It starts with a button...


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