Not a Poet!

Who do I seek to comfort when I am writing a poem? Who can find some reprieve or succour in my written word?

My approach to poetry and writing as a whole has often been selfish. I am selfish. I begin with the urgency of thought or vulnerability of my heart when I pick up the pen or open a word editor. I design and modulate and raise my voice to find someone — an invisible spectator or a known or an unknown other — who can consume it all for me, digest, excrete, and display for my purpose, to exterminate my words till their remains are indistinguishable. Such an inexorable marriage of poet and poetry and reader.

I am hungry for any reader, as I seek to consume so to be consumed, without parenthesis or any context. I do not care who the reader is. I do not comfort. I do not create an experience where we can both meet and touch each other and walk through our shared emptiness.

I want to devour so to be devoured. I want to become the other so that I can know myself better, even if I provide only a limited scope for that understanding to emerge.

“Poetry is an intimate act”: The adage is mentioned in the first chapter of my handy Poet’s Companion, which further goes on to define how a poem is sharing knowledge, which seems to be another way of universalising this experience. It seems anyone who creates, gives birth, evokes the miasma of the human truth or situation is expected to display it in a way as if it belongs (to more than one).

As a reader of poetry and other things, I know of my need to relate and be a part of the verse and the punctuation — to belong in a line-break or hide in a plot device.

When I read some of the so-called poems that came from me, I recoil at the arrogance, at the self-entitled diatribe of a diminutive of who or what we call a poet in popular understanding or literary parlance.

A poet friend once said, “Anyone who writes even a single poem is a poet.” I find this quote attributed to Kierkegaard even more exemplary: “What is a poet? A poet is an unhappy being whose heart is torn by secret sufferings, but whose lips are so strangely formed that when the sighs and the cries escape them, they sound like beautiful music… and men crowd about the poet and say to him: “Sing for us soon again”; that is as much to say: May new sufferings torment your soul.”

They never said who is to define what a poem is. If the decision is left to the one who writes it, it would be a futile exercise to discuss it any further. Still, I agree with a self-construed definition of such words and the meanings attained, far away from the capitalist mores of publication, reach, and popularity.

Let’s say everyone is a poet, as in everyone is capable of writing or thinking or sensing or living a poem. That should definitely upend the fallacy of a singular or multiple strands of a definition.

A song of Emilie Autumn that helped me through some bitter nights says, “The world is full of poets, We don’t need anymore.”

So, I have decided that I shall not be deemed a poet anymore. It’s yet another act of selfishness to take up a word, make it mine, live through it, use it, mutilate it, and then leave it be. But I am selfish. All my creative endeavours are built on the basis of the mythos where comfort only lies in destruction or pain. I turn it to favour me, to suffer, to pick at my gangrenous pen so to be seen or noticed or analysed and thus found.

Let us go back a little now. The day I started writing this exposition, I received a kind rejection from an editor of a digital magazine, who suggested that my work is not of a ‘snug fit‘ for them. This is something I already knew because I often revelled in being too small or too big. Too short in my much-cherished individuality, too big in the failure of my years. Like a rat that can fit into the tightest of spaces and still be the purveyor of ghastly death (mostly blamed for the black death as if death can be anything but black). A study suggested that the rat’s case may be blown out of proportions. Its complicated mathematical model pointed out the human-parasite link to be the primary cause of mortality in many affected cities.

It is for me an acceptance that what is apparent to my mind and heart is not often the whole truth. Facts change, so do emotions. So, take everything I write as a self-questioning enterprise or my agency to mould and expand my thought process.

I will be writing poems, whenever it happens. Sometimes out of habit, at other times deliberately carving words from the carcass of language to make them palatable. As history goes, I am not good with fine dining. I will also keep learning through reading and doing the unspeakable things to any poem I come to love, and perhaps go through a bit more of that companion text.

I do not know if any poem I will write can cause what I want it to release into my small world, where a comment or two can cause such a surge of pride and/or repulsion in me. Only for some time. This is the only way I have known because it is a release, and not something that I have nourished and built and kept safe. I do not think I ever had a chance.

I always sought to be comforted when that was not possible. I wanted reprieve when it could never last.

“Why live a lie,” sings Autumn as a refrain through the song. I am not going to bother with it. It is just a beginning to overcome some internalised delusions, and it has to be symbolic like everything else, to be of any significance.

This is the first in a series of essays envisaged by me called #Trash. Please bear with me as I had to get this self-indulgent piece out first; I have something sexy planned for next week. Share your opinion and topic suggestions (however trashy) in the comments. You can keep up with me on my Instagram or Twitter as well.

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15 thoughts on “Not a Poet!

  1. SMiLes Generally
    Speaking When
    We Worry About
    What Others
    ‘Think’ We
    Lose our
    Soul Wholly
    Every Art🎶
    Is Poetry
    Path
    To
    Soul 🎶Yet
    If Followed
    By Other’s
    Instructions
    Not Our
    Soul
    At
    All
    For me at
    Least Paint
    By Numbers
    Poetry is
    Science
    Without
    Breath
    Of Art
    Lost
    In
    Path to
    Soul As
    Soul Dances
    Sings Free
    As
    Original
    Soul Art Breathes
    SMiLes not every
    One Values Soul
    In ‘Fact’
    Some
    Are
    Still
    Only Opening
    Doors of Others…
    When Forging🎶
    A New
    Path
    We
    Don’t
    Look Back to
    Dance Sing Forward🎶
    Smiles Original
    Art Original
    Poetry
    Is the
    Magic Moment
    And Gift Surfacing
    From the Subconscious
    Depth of Our
    Soul
    We
    Never
    Realized
    Existed As
    Us is it any
    Wonder Through
    All Ages this
    ‘Whisper
    In the
    Dark’
    Has
    Been Named
    Holy Sacred
    Breath
    Of
    God
    Within
    No Not At All
    It is our Higher
    Nature Revealed
    For Us to
    See
    No
    Longer
    Divided
    From
    Who
    We aRe
    WHoLE
    SouL Breathing
    How Do You Put
    A Price
    Tag on
    A Soul
    Fully
    Breathing
    Don’t Even
    Ask Lest
    Soul
    Breath
    is Lost🎶

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I enjoyed reading your thoughts. I too am going through a similar kind of deconstruction of the word ‘poet’ and whether or not it applies to me. I have come to the conclusion – no I am not that or at least not the kind of poet the world deems to a poet. My ‘poetry’ is often clumsy and decidedly unpoetic but somehow it is the form the current state of world inspires in me. I like your quote from Kierkegaard. Poetry does seem to be the most apt form of creative expression when the heart is unhappy.

    Liked by 4 people

    • It does seem to be the most appropriate at such times. Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful comment, Suzanne. In the end, it’s an individual concern and the worldly recognition/definitions are not ideal for the meaning we give to it and attain from it. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’ve given up on worldly recognition. It’s nice when it comes but its not the goal. My poetry at present is more about tryng to articulate my deeper reactions to these strange times. My ability to write in coherent sentences seems to be deconstructing. I find blank. verse gives me more creative freedom. Sometimes I think the lack of wider acceptance of my poems is about people being on different wave lengths.

        Liked by 3 people

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