By Addyson Kimball
Pencil thrumming against the page in frustration
For near ten minutes before a single word stands
An inadvertent scratch against the paper
Followed by quick erasing
And correction to the line above.
Handwriting not neat enough for my aesthetic
Of chai tea
And lavender scented paper
Or fast enough to resist the call of my laptop
And no collection tucked away in a file to ask for help
From a younger
And less cynical version of myself.
From the jotted down odes to a person I’ve never met
To the poured-over pieces I find myself unable to take
Pencil thumping, trembling, tapping, and at last tumbling to the floor.
My very first few I called a “series”
Tapped out on a cracked Kindle Fire
That had the spell-check inserting typos
More often than removing them.
Merely the frustrated rantings of an eleven year old
With a macabre interest in Poe and Elliot and Goethe
Stuck like a Band-Aid™
Over the sting of strangers
Attempting to be balms
About the open wounds of the divorce.
Poorly rhymed bits about
A jolly robin, caged by a weary father
And a woman unaccustomed to step-motherhood.
I kept using birds.
They’re free, flying far from places of distress.
I suppose I envied them
As well as found them nearly surreally elegant.
Written and named for an anime cosplayer on Tumblr
Of all people.
I saw him as a phoenix.
Then the fumbling sonnets
Written to the people I fell in love with
Even if some could not reciprocate.
Slightly risqué piece on a fictional character
With a regretful past
And a skewed sense of honor
Written from the perspective of a lover with a heart
Too big for her own good
And certainly too big for her career choice.
And idle thoughts
(With my heart beside them
Because there was no room for it on my sleeve
In this world)
In Courier New font to mimic a typewriter.
In handwriting so messy from rushing
That even I can’t read it.
Trying to seek inspiration from Neruda
Even though a literal translation
Isn’t the real way to read
Cannot be read with the eyes
Or the mind
Or beneath the tips of the fingers.
Poetry must be inhaled
So that it might reach every part of the body
And make a home there.
Poetry is the whisper in the ear
When the house is empty.
Poetry is the thing darting between the blood cells
When there is no air.
Poetry is the taste on the back of the tongue that is recalled
But not recognized.
Poetry is ugly.
Poetry is messy.
Poetry is strife
And everything that the machineries
In sci-fi movies argue makes humans weak.
And they’re right.
But that’s why we need it.
Poetry is breathing in the only gulp of fresh air
In a sprawling metropolis
Mired in factory smog.
Poetry is the first spring rain to wash away
The death and decay of winter.
Poetry is the nectar and ambrosia to heal all wounds.
If I can make another person,
Another lost soul in a sea of tiny despairs,
Then I guess I might be doing
Photo: Paris at night by Lorenzo Tomada on Flickr