“Write a poem that a young you needed to read.”
I found this poetry prompt for National Poetry Writing Month. Really nice prompt, except I was 3 days late. But it got me thinking. What poem would young me need to read? I mean, I have come across these pieces before – Letter to Young Me- but I’ve never given the idea much thought before. Perhaps because it was not my time yet for that contemplation. But tonight, disturbed, anxious, slightly depressed with my thoughts going where they shouldn’t, where I don’t want them to go, I am trying to think of what advice I could conjure up for a younger version of myself.
At five, perhaps, don’t be so bitter
For being always mocked at,
For being made fun of, bullied,
For being the youngest.
We all grow up someday
And frankly, it’s overhyped.
At ten, don’t try so hard
To be nice, to be liked
It won’t matter, in the long run
In a few years you will wonder
That you ever liked these people,
And wanted to be liked back again.
At 15, don’t you crave for that tub of Fairness Cream
It won’t make a difference, either way.
At 17, don’t bother about how the starched school skirt
Looks on you, or the people who laugh
Because you are fat.
You will forget their faces in a year or two.
That part was easy.
What do I say to 25 who wants to dream beyond what
Even I can see?
Or to 28, weeping into her pillow, deep into the night
And in the morning, testing the edges of a blade
And drawing back only by the fear of pain?
What do I say to last year’s me?
To last morning’s me, weary of being misheard?
That it gets better?
That you grow?
That things happen in their time
And it all works out in the end?
How do I promise the ending
That still leaves me hanging?
How do I lie when I know
That we try, and we strive, and the world strikes back
And you may want to sink deep into yourself
But the world will drag you up
And like an air-breathing fish
You will learn to survive
As you always do.
Every song I’ve sung lately has been all for you, but I don’t know how to get into your audial circle across all these immense airwaves and all this noise, so many voices talking across each other, talking over me, talking in cross-currents all the time. But if souls are what they are made out to be- I wouldn’t know, in this limited corporeal version, any more than you do- may be somewhere my song has reached you. I can hope.
I read a book about a woman trapped inside her house because the world outside frightens her. She is agorapobic and watches the outisde through the lenses of her camera from her window. And she witnesses something, but nobody believes her because she is drunk and on heavy medication and leaves in an illusory world of her own, talking to people inside her head.
And here I am. I haven’t witnessed a murder, as Anna Fox did, but I do know that something has died inside me, and nobody else has noticed. They all insist on carrying on like I am who they think I am, who they think I ought to be, but I know in all certainty, even if I haven’t seen it yet, even if I can’t articulate it- that something in me has died, and something else is growing. And all I can tell young me is that may be the shedding of the old skin hurts in the beginning, when it begins to dry and shrivel, before the new skin can reveal itself. There, I’ve moved from pisces to reptilian, skipping the amphibian perhaps because it is not my forte to live in both worlds. But surely I can be the bird someday, and fly?
But as I was saying, Anna Fox witnessed a murder and had a hard time working it out. But you know what really stayed with me at the end? The longing, the love, the ache of missing a loved one. It made me miss you, it made me want to hear your voice. Is it strange that the fictional hearbreaks of fictional people makes me long for people I’ve never even met? But as true as Anna knew what she saw, I know this. I miss you. And someday, I hope, you can hear me.
Right, so that was the morbid rambling part. As for the poem, although I couldn’t make it a #napowrimo entry, I’m still including it as part of the Airplane Poetry Movement’s 100 Poems A Year Challenge. You can still sign up for that one. Honestly, it’s great. I signed up because other people on my feed were posting poetry on their timelines that was blowing my mind, even though I hadn’t seriously written poems in many years. But I signed up, and here I am. It has been a great ride so far. You can read my poems on my Instagram or on my Facebook Page. Here are a couple of my entries from the NaPoWriMo challenge. The prompt for yesterday’s poem was to write in iambic meter, and though I disliked prosody in college, I think I had fun with this one. And today, APM asked us to write a poem to advertise something, which made me confused and distracted at first, which led to the poem. I hope you like them. Let me know. And if you’re doing the challenge yourself, make sure you let me know and leave a link in the comments. And if you’ve read a book that you really liked, let me know that in the comments too.
(All pictures courtesy of DailyCalm, except for the book cover, which I googled, and the handwritten poem, which is obviosuly mine.)
Thank you for reading. 🙂