Love, Poets, and a Sip of Tea

5 10 2016
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“A Literary Review”, 2016, EIC: Jordan Macklin, A Colorado Mesa University Publication

I was sitting around at school in a chair that’s just uncomfortable enough that it reminds me that I have somewhere else to be eventually.  The reds and yellows of the chairs and floor offset the plain white wall that reach up to the white ceiling.  I’m caught off guard by a brightly colored book.  It’s covered in neon paint splashes.  The top half: a pair of eyes stare out into the real world.  The bottom half: the words scrawled across, “The Literary Review”.  Okay, I’ve got a little time to stall before I get back to work.

I crack open this, what I assume to be freshly printed, book.  It’s published by my school and filled with students’ works.  It’s sorted by sections; Fiction, non-fiction, theater, poetry, etc..  A few photographs and drawings filled in between sections.  Poetry was the first section, and as I’m clearly the kind of guy that does things in an organized matter (that’s sarcasm for those who don’t know me), I started there.  I thumbed through the pages.  It was a small collection, but as I stopped and glanced from poem to poem, I saw the same themes in every single one.  Nearly each containing a regret, a lament, or even a loathing for the world they found themselves in.  I find it disheartening that my generation finds itself lost in uncertainty and imperfection.

“I was built to break.
Not to meticulously pick apart,
Not to solve
Scenes as fine-spun as her.”

Fecundity, Shannon Kay Spoon, The Literary Review, 2016

Poetry and stories have always been a form of self-expression;  whether the intent of the the author is to be as such.  I’ve written some depressing stuff before too, and so I get it.  I get that sometimes the only outlet is to write.  However; there is a pattern here that seems impossible to ignore.  Each presumably submitted as their best works, their showcase, the art that they want to be remembered.  Do we prefer to revel in the darkness and din of our own wandering?  have we forgotten the beauty of life and love?20151006_184804

Yesterday, my mother asked me: “How do you know you love her?” I’d prepared for this answer for months with almost certainty that someone would eventually ask.  With skill and precision and with near perfect recital, having been as prepared as I was (once again… sarcasm), I said: “you know, I can’t really explain it.”  My mom has a cherish-able habit of asking me deep personal questions when I’m strapped down into a seat and unable to escape… perhaps I deserve that fate.   But anyway, there I was, unable to give an explainable answer.  I couldn’t describe it.  I know with absolute certainty that it’s true, and will forever remain so; but I couldn’t explain it.

It seems easier for people to explain feelings of angst and uncertainty than it is to explain beauty or joy.  We’ve become accustomed to analyzing suffering and despair.  People have made livings on telling what’s wrong with the picture.  With answers ‘they’re depressed’, ‘they were mentally unstable’, ‘their environment wasn’t allowing them to succeed’ we seem to have been indoctrinated that in order to be happy we must understand why people are not.  We look at our worldly pains and study them, we adapt to them, and in a sick and twisted way, we’ve melded to them.  The idea of ‘expressing ourselves’ often comes out as “this is why I/the world sucks.”

*pauses… sips tea… resets perspective.

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The Irony in my message today is the bleak outlook I may have painted of the matter.  This is anything but true!  I take issue with this, not because “you’re poems suck, and you’re a terrible person,” but because I know that the world we live in is full of good things.  The words we speak or write need not be tainted with negativity, as our ‘outlet’ to feel, but they should rather fill us with hope and longing to improve our condition.

Take joy my friends.  Dance among the stars! Yes, a moment of grief and solitude may be needed, but don’t forget that it is not a life worth living by itself.  Singers: Sing of the summer rain and the flowers of spring.  Dancers: dance with the heart of a warrior, and the grace of an angel.  Painters: imprint on us the bold colors of life.

Poets and writers, a special creed I offer to you: Loose your shackles of bitterness and regret.  Oh scribes of our souls, heed not the warnings of fear and despair.  Adventure forth into the world, peering into the corners of our furthest hopes.  Grow not weary or disheartened.  Seek through mire of hopelessness.  For all can already see what is clearly in front of us.  Seek deeper, wander farther, share with the world what it does not know.  May your works bring wonder and awe to all who see.  Do not find peace in serenity of hopelessness.  Find it instead in the words of the kind, the brave, the virtuous, and the wise.  Be those words.

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