The Poem I Wrote When I Couldn’t Write

Poison White

when your mind decides to quit,

it shudders and shrieks as the padlock clicks closed,

binding shut the safe where precious words are held.

 

you can reach for a pair of headphones to disrupt the white noise,

like you did,

like you always do–

but when melody strikes, the lyrics crash down

                                                                  onto your lungs,

                                                            into your memory,

they’re threaded within each breath you take

until every word you could possibly use to wrap the white noise in chains becomes

           a cheap copy of some other artist’s words.

 

the block,

the gap,

the box

            is empty.

 

and they hurt–

the forgotten words that get stuck in your throat–

oh, how you wish that something

                                                                               anything

would crawl free of this white paper,         

                                                  of these white noise cuffs,

and stain your page

 

not because you feel the need to write melodramatic poetry,

                                                                       (though what else have you ever written?)

but because for some screwed up reason,

you think that words on paper or

                       lines drawn across some strangers’ lips

                           touch deeper into your core than the thoughts inside your head

because what are thoughts if not slivers of mind-bound babble

poison to the thinker,

cure-all to the reader.

 

they argue back and forth, the belladonna letters,

’til they decide on a single word to grind into your bones

 

and suddenly you’re driving down Main Street on a Sunday evening and everything you pass is branded red.

                                                             red, regretting the words you never wrote

                                                            and the ones you always said.

red because yesterday at 3:00 AM you sat up straight

and watched a phrase dance across your palm,

                                                               but you surrendered to sleep

and now its gone.

 

                      you have yet to figure out a way to punish sleep.

 

though then again,

to build yourself a reputation,

                          on language’s back,

by God, you must be a fool,

for anyone sane must know that language fails and words are bastards

who run away to cheat

                                          and kill

                                         and mame

                                         and burn

until it is not they who have been torn apart and laid to rest on paper,

                                                              it’s you.

not within the words themselves,

but spread               between                    the               lines

in the empty spaces where language will not lie.

                                                                               there it is.

                                                                                your failure.

                                                   blank,

                            vile,

and poison white.

When You Say You’re Not Creative Anymore

You’re wrong

Creativity is a living, breathing thing. I imagine her dancing across lines of language and leaping from imagination to imagination, sparks flying as she skips from pen to pen. All people can be creative, for creativity herself is not exclusive. She welcomes anyone who takes the time to call her name. Inspired, she’ll move like energy– zapping through neurons from your brain, down your spine, right through your hands– tickling your fingertips until you reach towards a tool, be it a pencil, a keyboard, or a paintbrush.

What makes humans so unique is our natural curiosity and our ability to harness those free-flowing wisps of creativity as they float by. Like the great rat, Remy, from Ratatouille once said, “There’s something special about [humans]. They discover, they create.”

Our ingenuity, our determination, and our success when it comes to following through with creative efforts can all be linked to inspiration. Inspiration makes us antsy to create something worth sharing, either with the world, a single friend, or even just ourselves.

Inspiration is the strike of a match that sends a spark high in the air, a signal designed to catch creativity’s eye.

If we’re lucky enough to catch her, creativity becomes the fuel to our slow burning flame. Inevitably, we’ll run out of creative ideas, and it’s at these moments when we feel the well is empty that we return to our initial inspiration and seek to strike another match. Once we’ve worked hard enough to create something, it becomes a part of our story.

Without language, however, ideas would never leave our minds– they may not even exist at all. Language is humanity’s greatest tool, a system of communication so intricate and advanced that a single language can be molded into infinite stories and inspire infinite ideas. Our desire to pass on these ideas to future generations and leave a record of our past innovations have caused us to develop thousands of foreign tongues across the globe, some written, some drawn, some only spoken. Language’s widespread existence is just another piece of evidence that proves the boundless reach of creativity, for language couldn’t have been developed without it. Who decided that an A would represent the sound “A”? Who was the artist who drew the first letter, or the writer who wrote the first word? I cannot even fathom the amount of creative work it took to develop the first alphabet.

I wonder how many years the architect sat striking matches.

It’s an endless cycle, you see. Inspiration drives creations that we share through language. Language itself was a creative response to our need to communicate. As someone who loves foreign languages, the people I’ve met around the globe inspire me everyday to expand my vocabulary and add my ideas to the discourse. I take a dose of creativity every time I set out to write a poem in French or an essay in Spanish. Creativity is woven through the music in my headphones, the paintings on my wall, my host sister’s sense of humor, and the movie that  always makes me cry. (Yes, I’m referring to Titanic).

It disappoints me when people claim they’re not creative. They speak and they write.

They discover, they create.

When Plagued with a Homework Free Vacation… 

That’s It?

What do you do when faced with days of spare time? How do you choose to fill those empty moments?

When school is your identity and school is your future, you pour your heart and soul into every assignment each and every day until your fingers twitch without an essay to write or a sheet to fill with notes.

This Winter break, I find myself without anything to do. College apps are in, I’m more or less caught up with my online work, my principle declared this week “homework free” and for once in my high school career, I feel like I’m caught up. This is freedom… right?

Well, if that’s so, then why do I still feel like there’s a to do list hidden somewhere with a hundred things to do.

Suddenly, every project I had sitting on the back burner, lukewarm, that I’ve been waiting since September 1st to work on feels like a chore.

This Christmas Eve, as I’m supposed to be lying in bed and wishing for presents to pile up beneath the tree as I sleep, I find myself making a list and checking it twice, though it has nothing to do with who’s naughty or nice. On my list, there are a collection of things for me do–fun things. This is a list that holds nothing for me to be afraid of.

My list:

  • Cuddle up by the fireplace with a nice Gingerbread latte and read a good book (or two)
  • Go café hopping with a good friend
  • Find a new bookstore and take the time to browse
  • Work on my scrapbook– cement those memories with paper and glue
  • Bake something ridiculously unhealthy and enjoy eating it
  • Practice my Russian and finally get around to translating that Pushkin poem
  • Catch up on Marvel movies (Infinity wars is coming!)
  • Do some yoga
  • Take a walk
  • Write some poetry and learn how to doodle better
  • Write a blogpost (check!)

Everything on this list sounds amazing, though I have a nagging suspicion it would be hard to complete in six days. Nevertheless, it now exists.

It’s out there, floating around in some internet oblivion for me to stumble across one homework filled evening when I need to remember that lists are just fun.

Nothing on this list takes a long time to do. Nothing on this list requires long periods of planning. Nothing’s stopping me from taking small chunks of time out of busy days and getting some of these things done.

So, as my favorite bloggers Damon and Jo would say, it’s time to Shut up and Go.

Happy Holidays,