I’ve been writing poetry and creative pieces for a long time—i.e. since I was a kid. I haven’t posted much of my own creative writing for you to read, and I’d like to change that. Many of the pieces I wrote some time ago (in my teens) are still very special to me today. I am posting some for you to read. Before each one is a short description of the piece and why it is significant. Please enjoy!
Have you ever wondered what you would see if your inside (heart, soul) was reflected back to you? I thought about this for a while, wondering if perhaps we tend to ignore our faults or regrets because they aren’t physically visible. When you look in the mirror, you just see your face and body—not your memories or feelings. What would you see if you looked into a soul mirror? After writing Shoes, I have worked on making a conscious effort to “clean” my heart and soul so that if I were to see inside, I would be content with what I saw.
Wearing the cleanest pair of shoes possible,
I trek down the street, along the sidewalk,
Past rows of trees and groves of people
Head up high, but glancing down to my feet every few seconds or so
-I don’t want to fall in front of all these people
-I don’t want to step in a mud puddle and dirty my shoes
-I just want to get to where I am going, where the wind stopped blowing, where the traffic is slowing because of the sight to be beheld
A crystal statue on a white platform
That is why I wore white shoes:
So as not to dirty the platform
People cluster round, enamoured by the glorious and shining statue
The prestigious work of art on a pedestal before mankind
A regal piece of clear crystal
We look—many people as one
Collectively into the sparkle and glitter and glow and shimmer
We see our reflections
Youth and old age,
Mothers and fathers and sons and daughters
We see hatred in furrowed brows
Bruised self-esteem in curved shoulders
Regret in a slow walk
Bitterness in sour lips
Flashing lightning eyes
I see one million emotions
Almost but not quite hidden behind many wrinkles and few smiles
Nightmares plaguing daytime
Sinking realizations dropping one million stomachs onto the ground…
We see who we are and most are not pleased with the shocking outside turned around
I walk away
My shoes are filthy now
The dirt makes it hard to walk, and I keep tripping over everyone’s stomachs
But I stumble back as fast as I can
Back to my home, full of shoes, full of my past
I need to regurgitate my weaknesses
I don’t want to have to change my shoes…again.
Please don’t make me change my shoes again!
I was inspired to write this poem after reading the novel Jerusalem by Cecelia Holland. Jerusalem is a fictional story set in the time of the Crusades (religiously commissioned military campaign that took place in 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, aiming to take the Holy Land back from Muslim control). I wondered what it would be like to be a soldier, fighting in battle, knowing he was about to die. I wondered if someone who knew there was life after death would feel conflicting emotions: the pain of defeat and mortal wounds combining with the expectant hope of a heavenly afterlife. I don’t intend for Battles to be depressing: I actually mean for readers to see hope in even the worst of circumstances.
So he sits
Cradling heavy head in blistered hands
Enshrouded in the dusty sands
Wondering, waiting, wishing
Anywhere but here
All sounds of good and bad
Blended together now
As he cowers, as he falls
As arrows shower on them all
And his light of hope is snuffed out
Only the memory remains in a cloud of smoke
He chokes and chokes
And coughs up his life
He wants nothing more than to smile;
To be assured of something better than this
A way forward, onward,
Toward something bright
Something other than night
He cries and cries and meanwhile
His soul stands trial
He begins to wither
He mimics the weather:
The clouds so thick
They mask the sun
The sun so bright
It glows anon
And then he knows
And then it shows
Death renewed his spirit
The battle is over within him, as his spirit rises up above
As the battle rages on all around his crumpled body down below.
I wrote this for a creative writing high school assignment. I chose this topic in memory of my much-loved late cousin, who had passed away a few years beforehand. I wondered what the time and space of transitioning into the afterlife would feel like. This piece has received a great response at a couple of poetry readings I’ve participated in. Metamorphia is a little intense, but that’s the whole point.
I am running. I’m running so fast and so far that if I tried to go back, I’d surely lose my way. My feet move so swiftly that I’m surprising myself. The perfect trees are but green remnants of clouds in my peripheral vision and I can’t see the sky. I don’t remember if it is day or night. I don’t know if I hear music out loud or if it’s in my head. I don’t even know for sure if I’m running anymore. Yet it is all so clear to me in one certain way. So crystal clear that as I am, I scream and the blood in my veins transforms into liquid passion. I love…I love deeply…I have gallons of love inside my body and I’m ready to pour it out. I know that the love has to come out soon, or else I will burst and explode and erupt. I am reconciled with myself. I run hand in hand with God. My other hand is extended into the mist or rain or sun or whatever it is. My eyes see deeply and intensely into the intense depths of this place. This place! I finally know where I am and I definitely love it and the music gets louder, and all I want is to rip myself out of this fantasy world and throw myself into my real world where I can have this for real and God for real and myself for real****is this really real?*****A loud bang and little shards of glass shatter on my ears, and I open my eyes, and I am face to face—face to face with eternity. I have changed. I am here.
I have stopped running.
I know the topics involved in these pieces are serious and “heavy.” Hopefully they have produced some positive emotions or feelings or inspiration in you. I’d love you hear your feedback.