feature image via Unsplash
It’s April, and I’m here today to talk to you about National Poetry Month because what else do I even care so deeply about?
Poetry is, if we’re being as literal as possible, my life’s energy, homies. Langston Hughes has been my childhood love since my mom brought home a small booklet that had I, Too in it, I say the last lines even now, even now. When I was eight or nine and nervous about sitting next to a stranger on the airplane, my mom (who was sitting behind me) and I wrote the starts of poems the other had to finish, Post-Its clutched then shared between our finger tips. Poems got me through depression, anxiety, coming out, being rejected for coming out, coming out again and again, suicidality and the wrong diagnoses. Rachel McKibbens’ line, “When grief takes hold of you/you monster through it” (Oedipus) got me through intensive outpatient therapy and Panera and their hands and everything worse. Rachel McKibbens gave me the chance to say what I needed to say to my grandma when she was dying and dead and my family would not leave the hospital room to give the two of us privacy. Rachel McKibbens got me to Pink Door in 2015 when all my want was stolen and all the traces left just ended in voices repeating die, die, die. Pink Door gave me ways to unstick my words, yes, but also brought me poetry that gave me community and family and a reason to try.
I’m not going to lie to you: I’ve been really lost as of late and it’s not getting better soon. But I’m trying and the stanzas are pulling me through.
I want to share some of my favorite poems with you. And then maybe you can share some of your favorite poems with me?
“That’s how I participate in other people’s work. I carry it. The most important poems for us are the ones we carry.” – Ocean Vuong
Look in my front pocket and I got these (with first lines):
“Here, the sentence will be respected.”
38 by Layli Long Soldier
“i pledge allegiance to my/homies”
i pledge allegiance to no land by Safia Elhillo
“It’s hard for me to believe, but, believe/I do”
Omen To Get Your Ass Up by Angel Nafis
“Adam ate an apple”
(After God Herself) by Justice Ameer
“say it with your whole black mouth: i am innocent”
say it with your whole black mouth by Danez Smith
“I don’t know how to write a poem in metaphors anymore”
THE FBI USES MY PRONOUNS CORRECTLY WHEN THEY SEARCH MY APARTMENT FOR EVIDENCE by Linette Reeman
“I will not shoot myself”
Bullet Points by Jericho Brown
I get if poetry’s not your jam (though I’m one of those people who also believes music is poetry so feel free to insert that here instead), so go ahead and tell me whatever you wanna share, even if it’s not a poem! What’d you have for breakfast that lowkey set your soul on fire? Who’s coming over that you’re pretending you’re not super excited about but you’re gonna stop pretending cause your authentic self is more than enough and it’s a gift that both you and anyone around you gets to experience that? I wanna hear what you’re into this month! What’s got your heart like “finally a reason to stick around?”
Get in here and let me know, I’m so excited about you!!
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