Friday, November 20, 2020

Microstory 1500: Introduction to Poems

I’m not much of a poet. I wrote several of them in college for my Tumblr, and I can only hope that they were taken down at some point, because I lost my account information, no longer have the email address that was attached to it, and don’t even remember the web address. For as much as I call this a short fiction website, it is a creative writing website. I use a variety of formats, many of which one might call experimental. I’ve done all perspectives, most tenses, blocked dialog, nonfiction, fables, adapted dreams, and even fake news stories. A lot of my work can’t even be considered stories. They’re more anecdotal, where I give a run-down of the things that happened, while avoiding a beginning, middle, and end. Some are part of a series, while others stand alone. I have an ongoing series that I’ve posted pretty much every Sunday since 2015, and associated longer-form multiseries and single series that run on Saturdays. I’ve done everything else that fits in a blog format, so of course I have to do poetry. I don’t know how this is going to go, and I’m really nervous about it. If someone doesn’t like my regular fiction, I can generally take the criticism. When they say the flow is choppy, or the climax was anticlimactic, I can see where they’re coming from. But I don’t know what a good poem looks like, and I certainly don’t know how to replicate that magic. I’ve been through a lot of crap in my life—mostly when it comes to education and employment—but I’ve always had food on the table, a good family, and I’ve never experienced true emotional trauma. I also have shockingly bad memory, annoyingly so.

Several months ago, my dad was telling me about some bullies I had in middle school. I knew they existed, but I don’t really remember the things that they did to me; and not because my fragile mind blocked them out, but because that was all two decades ago, and it’s not important anymore. So if I don’t feel so much pain and strife—if I’ve never been a starving artist, or a soldier, or a victim, or a survivor, what can I say? I can absolutely put my feelings into words, but that’s not what poetry is, is it? Poetry is twisting those words until they become new words on the other side, so when someone tries to translate them back, they become less obvious, and more up to interpretation. How can I hope to move you with the poetry of my life if I don’t even think my own life moves me? Well, if everyone felt like Emily Dickinson, or Edgar Allan Poe, then I suppose everyone would be a poet. The only people who do poetry are probably the only people who should be doing it. So where does that leave me? With the compulsion to do it anyway, even if I don’t belong in this world. But again, how could I possibly accomplish this when I don’t really even have anything to say? I’ve realized that I’ve never had much to say before, but that hasn’t stopped me yet. A lot of writers use fiction to express their ideas, but I usually go a different direction. I use fiction to express other people’s ideas, to tell other people’s stories. I don’t see any reason I can’t do that here too. So as you’re reading this poetry, be gentle with your criticisms, because I’m a newbie, and none of these is from my true self anyway.

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