Walking The Dark Road

My blog is 4 months old and it already feels like a neglected child crying for attention. September has been a busy month here at the Dey residence with the transitioning of my children going back to school and getting them to pay attention to their new schedules. My oldest has been a champ at assisting his sister with morning chores, going with her to and from the school building and helping her with her papers and assignments at home. Now if I could only get him to keep his shoes tied and to put his dirty clothes in the laundry hamper.

Then, while hubby heads to his office, I have a small window of time to proofread and post any poetry I wrote the night before to my blog before I’m out the door towing the youngest child to day care, then getting to work by 9am. It’s all wild and crazy and a lot of fun—a rush that keeps the heart pumping and puts a smile on my face. I stay busy at my job with reports and files and dealing with accounts and clients until it’s time to pick up the youngest from day care and meet his brother and sister when the school bus drops them off at the house. Then it’s time for homework, chores, the evening meal, and family time before it’s off to bed and another day of doing the same again. Unless it’s the weekend. That’s when I unwind and pamper myself for a few hours each day, writing poetry or working on a drawing or painting. It’s a left brain/right brain, yin and yang thing that keeps me balanced.

The poetry I write on the weekends begins as incomplete sentences that I jot into a leather journal. I write using a stream of consciousness style—free-writing thoughts and feelings and ideas no matter if they flow together or not. Whatever comes to mind, I keep writing until I’ve exhausted the moment. Later, when I’m in bed and after hubby and I have tended to each other’s needs, I spend a half-hour bridging pieces together into cohesive text that isn’t stripped of its rhythmical arrangement of syllabic stresses or quantities. I often read aloud to my husband who comments whether any of the accents sound dull. He’s been helpful on rewording many of my poems. So much, in fact, that he’s the only thesaurus I go to bed with.

I have always been a stream of consciousness writer. My early poems lacked the rebuilding that I do now—they were written in one draft and kept that way when I posted them to my early blogs and websites. Following is a first draft poem I wrote when I was 14.

Your fingers are slipping
Your voice is fading
Your eyes are growing darker
but never dark
I’m holding on harder
than I’m trying to let go

You get caught in my chest
and somehow always
escape my lips

Still
I wake with you beside me
My stomach aches for you
My hands shake you awake

My cheeks flush
every time I remember
that I don’t want to forget

My tongue moves behind
clenched teeth

I catch your scent
and lose my breath

I close my eyes and
try

An artist friend calls this sketching. And she’s right: the words are sketches of something larger, whether the larger is to become a fleshed-out poem or scenes in a novel. Every wordsmith I know begins with sketches, then builds. The trick is to not destroy the sketch while you build—you want to keep the writing alive, keep it energetic with the lightning that moved you from the moment you began sketching.

The poem above is called Trying To Forget. It’s a poem of when I was at odds with my 14-year-old self about leaving a relationship and moving on. We get the sense from reading the poem that I was having sex with the person I’m writing about. The truth is I wasn’t sexually active yet, but waking to memories of a person that haunted me and kept me returning to the relationship that I wanted out of. It’s a poem packed with a lot of energy. So much, in fact, that I’ve never been able to rewrite this poem without weakening the power of its emotions.

Sometimes a sketch will always be a sketch, sparking new ideas and maybe cast some light on a road that all artists walk alone in the dark.