Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness. – Maya Angelou
Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue. – Plato
This week, we departed from our usual work and focused our attention on song writing. When anyone works long enough on one artistic medium, in this case poetry, a certain freshness in the work can be achieved when the artist practices another form. This is the case here. We listened to music together, discussed different songwriting forms, and challenged ourselves to write in that form. The work that came from this was potent and surprising, some of the strongest the writers have made in some time. It’s as though they have been practicing and practicing in the same way with the same diligence and potential and this new form opened up possibilities in their work that they didn’t know what there.
This happens for many artists – something new and out of their control moves into their realm of experience, their consciousness, and changes the way they do their work. In the pieces below, you will read what happens when well-practiced writers ride the energy of something new. It makes magic.
I’LL NEVER FORGET
This year was the first celebrated Memorial Day that my Grandpa and Grandma were buried in the same spot.
Every year my aunts and uncles would plant flowers at my Grandpa’s grave.
This year they decided to also sprinkle tobacco and pecans on the grave for my grandma.
I still have her old, classy jewelry and antique gloves that I wear with pride.
I also have a spoon you can use for root beer floats with a straw on it.
I miss you a lot Grandma B.
You always told me that if boys came around to hit ‘em with a baseball bat. You ornery presence will be missed.
Try not to smoke a cigarette with your oxygen tank and blow up heaven.
When we reunite we can have all the root beer floats and pecan pie and watch CSPAN.
See you in Paradise.
RIP Verna Barwin August 7, 2015
I DO WHAT I WANT
I do what I want 3x
Nope, that’s wrong.
This is not my song.
I did what I want.
I don’t mean to taunt.
I did a bag with a needle
to show some dude that I was cool.
But I wake up drooling in the fetal,
wondered who I was fooling.
God help me that ain’t nothing to do.
But I do what I want.
I always been the type
to stand beyond the rest,
the outcast only creating the hype
because I had to be the best.
Cuz? I do what I want.
Why? I do what I want.
There’s something sick
making my thoughts thick,
growing like a fruit too ripe.
The pain needs to be fed.
Locked away for all those years,
nightmares come back to replenish my fears,
I wanted so badly to do what’s right
but inside me is where I always lose that fight.
A battle between the ages,
growing up strong through all of life’s stages,
rules can’t hold back a hero.
I been a legend since I decided
not be a zero.
I do what I want.
I don’t mean to taunt,
but I do what I want.
The only thing that ever calmed me down,
cried and screamed the first time she saw a clown
She ran right up to me and did her best
to hide inside of her summer dress.
My biggest fears
leave my thoughts through eyes
full of tears—
that she won’t grow up to tell me lies,
I do what I want.
If I could tell you now, I hope it would sink in…I’ve been there too. You and I are the same. I know it’s hard to believe that I could possibly get your struggle. I really was right there. Your best never seems good enough, no one seems to see the pain inside. I do…I am just like you. Don’t forget that you will make it through, I won’t leave your side. I haven’t forgotten, I could never forget that I was you. The same darkness surrounds you, trust me, it’s familiar and I know the way out – all you have to do is listen, just listen and you will find your way.