Red Ink

This was written 8 years ago in a style I had never written in before or since.  It was influenced by a classmate at SLCC who had a R&B/rap style that transcended the typical dross of the that genre and managed to be meaningful and beautiful.  His style was absorbed into me for a time, providing a platform to express a lot of confusing memories that I tried to piece together to make sense of how I arrived in the state of severe depression and anxiety I was in at the time.  It capitalizes on what I think is universal to all of us: the desire to be understood and the need for empathy to help us through our hardest times, as well as looking forward to the desire to do the same for others once we’ve healed, as I have been.

___________________________________

October 2009

They say
the reason poets put pen to paper is to confuse all who peruse,
intimate friends and passers-by,
as they invent new ways to express their views
and not to compromise what’s really inside
because if its true meaning flies
that intensifies the rise of what they devise,
each layer glorifies
and its depth supplies ongoing surprise about what it implies
the longer one spies for a clue.
They say in order for writing to stay through the age
day after day
and be labeled great by academics with an education
it must meet those certain qualifications.
If you won’t allow pluralized interpretations
they’d advise you to put your pencil down and revise,
otherwise, kiss admiration goodbye.
I won’t lie, it’d be nice to create a creation that stirs a sensation
yet if I must make room for misinterpretation at this point in time
that only causes frustration
because my moment’s intention is for clear communication
for my peers to simply grasp and gather me
and would rather be understood than anything.
I don’t want to impress with deep dressings
that only end up messing with what I mean
I don’t want to keep people guessing
I don’t want to be criticized
to be canonized by intellectual eyes
anthologized for students to analyze, get wise
I don’t even want for anyone to answer me why
or pretend to have advice
just sit by my side while I confide and empathize
realize that I, like you, am human too.
I have no wit to feign
I have no fame to gain
I have nothing but the desire for you to know my pain
In all the days I’ve walked through pouring rain and couldn’t see the rainbow
pardon my clichés
I’m just trying to be plain
yet knowing these things are commonplace
doesn’t drain anything away.
It doesn’t quiet my quakes
or still my shakes
so call it trite
call it trivial
or unoriginal
but that won’t assuage the fact that some of the things I’ve been through are unbelievable:
When I was a short stack I suffered lack of paternal affection and overabundances of bruises black
He’d come, he’d go – never knew if he was coming back
Left without safety;  Mom was occupied, retrieving her poison
When I was eight I carried a death’s weight that could break a grown man’s back
soon after lived with a stranger, some father replacer
trading physical violence for verbal
When I was ten I pondered questions beyond my years about what God might be  or has been
and before then I learned the hard way that you can’t trust everyone, especially men
also stood by during yet another fight, alert so she wouldn’t overdose on some medicine
waiting, there by the stove,  as she said she didn’t care where I’d be sent
When I was a pre-teen I discovered that beauty is value and I wasn’t worth two cents
meanwhile worked to build my doorless fence of defense; no trespassing
When I was fourteen I decided in this place of so many wrongs and so few rights that “God is love” didn’t make any sense
When I was fifteen, I nearly executed my own end of life sentence
But here, too, almost two years after faith renounced, God’s love broke my resistance;
the only reason I’ve learned persistence
then wrestled blades out of maternal hands that no longer wanted existence.
When I was sixteen, still struggling, I finally picked up a pen and wrote with red ink
those little blue lines were the only ones there to hold up what I feel and think
At seventeen, I began to grow my own pair of wings, only to have them clipped by one who could only
see and speak the wrong in everything
When I was eighteen I resigned tattered hopes and dreams I once claimed
because my record was by failure after failure stained
by the years with colors flying I tried to ace every test, out run the best
only to come to the finish line and find its band already broken or not making it there in the first place
Now at twenty I’m just plain ill, relying on popping a pill to keep a smile on my face
a thread of sanity strung through my mind
but it’s a heap of frayed gray yarn in a bind
wish I knew why it won’t unwind
And that’s just the beginning of what I could find if I kept digging
but I won’t reveal all my history behind
I’ll spare all the lines I’ve never written
all the bait I’ve never bitten
all the hurts I’ve hidden
and probably always will
because I’m still unsure about if they’ll kill me on the way out
or do so when my confidant finds out
that the easiest way to stop my heated mouth and end my drought of tears
is to sow with hate what they reaped by making me believe they were safe with my fears.
Now damn, that’s hurt.
So, please, whatever you do don’t take my dirt as something to invert
back at me when I’ve been curt
and don’t give me an inert “get over it” nothing
and don’t be impertinent, hearing this only to evaluate its poetic value
or lack thereof, if you’re of that opinion.
Commenting on my style, my rhymes and rhythm
what I articulate
what my words connotate
when I alliterate
or rate what I’ve stated, whether it’s shallow or deep
to discard or keep
let me reiterate:
I don’t care if my creations aren’t cryptic
I don’t mind if my meanings aren’t mystic
or that my themes won’t one day be historic
because everyday people don’t relate with pedantic.
As long as somebody somehow could understand me right now
it might allow me to unload and plow on
seeing those things are past and gone.
And although you may not know every nuance of what I feel
having experienced different deaths
sorrow from different depths
wounds from different words
and trials of different breadths
still do all you can to pull those heartstrings together with me
match the throb within my breast
and pang with me
match the rise and fall of my chest
and shudder with me
match the water my eyes infest
and weep with me
forget it if you can’t match what I confess
just be with me
and I’ll be with you
when, not if, you need it.

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