One of the benefits of getting organized is you find things you forgot you had. It’s been a while since I’ve gone through my poetry files, which include everything from rough drafts to interesting articles, emails and printed threads from workshops, and (of course) rejection letters.
I found an old email from 2001 from a friend I’ve since lost touch with. He’s one of a group who got to know each other in my early days of writing at a place called Writer’s Write. I don’t know what it is that draws people together. We were and still are a pretty diverse group from all over the U.S. who just gravitated toward each other in that “blue room.” In 2001 four of them came here for a weekend. This was just a few weeks after 9/11, and I remember they were on the fence about whether to make the journey. But they did, and it was great to see them all and finally meet s. That’s how he posted, as “s”.
I think about him from time to time, wonder where he is, how he’s doing. I wonder if he’s still lonely, if he’s found love. I hope he’s found some true friends. He’d gone back to his native country a few years ago, but I was told he’s come back to the States. He was a modern day Rumi. He wrote a poem called “let’s take a walk, you and i”, and it took my breath away. I’m so glad I printed it out and stashed it away. Few poems convey the deep longing that this one does. I would dearly love to post it here, but I don’t know if he’d want me to. He was a private individual, and I believe the poem was very personal.
He was always challenging me to stretch myself, to loosen up in my writing, but it was no use. I was and still am too tightly wound. To quote him, “i don’t think you’ve opened yourself, to be perfectly blunt in my trademark way. you hold yourself back because you think about us. i don’t think anyone can create good art by holding back. i think that goes against the very definition of art as i think it. but on the flip side, not everyone needs to create good art. some will create comfortable art. and others like me will create pointless art. but it all makes sense because whatever we do, adds a grain of sand to the sahara, the huge desert of creativity, and it is beautiful.” Oh, how I miss your “trademark way”, s. For what it’s worth, I’m still trying to loosen up. I even used “hell” in a recent poem, lol. Don’t expect me to use that other word, though, no matter how much you tease me :)
You ended that email with, “If you die tomorrow….you needn’t have any regrets. you’ve already done a fine job with your life. you don’t need to write poetry to make it better. and that i think is the truth. but we like to fool ourselves because we are fools. so we write poetry. we hope it will make our lives more meaningful somehow. what idiocy.”
He’s right, you know, because it’s not poetry that matters, but people. But I write anyway because I am a fool.
and i miss you, s, and still strive to write like i’m made of flowers