As is my custom, each week I create a ‘found poem’ from lines written the previous week by women participating in the writing inside circle. This is a particularly interesting challenge for those weeks when I am not present as facilitator. Reading these lines ‘cold’ and out of context simply prompts me to find the thread that will tie them together. Perhaps the result is a narrative, or perhaps, a mood-setting vignette of condensed and coalesced memory. Either way, I am as eager as the dozen or so expectant faces turned toward the reader of those combined lines to gauge the pulse of the resulting piece. Did I capture something? Does it speak to them? Does it resonate with their original intention(s) or distort their individual voice so much they cannot even recognize their own words?
It is important to understand that, for these women, this is much more than an exercise. It is an opportunity for them to shine; for their words to mingle into a mixed message of hope, longing, despair; for them to see themselves, through their words, as part of something bigger than their own thoughts and feelings, to become part of a communal tapestry of experience. A slice of life, if you will.
So when a long-time writer with the group pronounced the following ‘found poem’ “just beautiful” as she asked to read it last Thursday, I listened with extra attention to sense how it would hit her sister writers, now prepped to receive with her assessment. What I heard was the gentle hum of mmm’s around the table as they recognized both their part and the whole they had become part of creating, a brand-new expression of love, loss and longing that started with individual’s writing on Valentine’s Day one week prior.
Hear the clock – tick, tock –
it’s time I must go
retrace the steps of everywhere I’ve been:
the drugs, the crazy nights, the binges;
back to the 15-year-old version of myself
I was taught and shown in a strange way.
If I were able to erase all the scars,
I’d be able to open my eyes and see
we outspent the repercussions.
When others lose their faith in you, that’s when it will start,
to be renewed in love (what love and dignity
you once upon a time gave.)
I dreamt of you –
the perfect hug,
a day of love,
the sweet smell of honeysuckles
and subtle nuances of the shades of red,
warm radiance abundant in the universe.
Let the moon in your grasped hand guide you –
in darkness you can light a hundred candles and still not see what’s there.
I just need the smallest bit of relief
from my heart, no longer perfect
weapon of pain, tool of guidance;
the strength to stand on two feet,
grow new chambers;
myself, my life, my dreams, who I am
missing the beauty of ragged edges
of colors and shapes,
manipulated by my own pain.
It wasn’t enough to stop the crash, burn and fall
driven by the nails of failure and rejection
back into the fog.
I don’t think my greed is out of line;
My thoughts of friends are the best.
I miss the joy of the walk with my higher power hand in hand
indisputably giving, evermore
right where it counts.