Monday, February 2, 2009

Pardon me, but does this suck to you too?

When I was younger, I use to write poems galore. Every day, every place, every moment was worthy of a portrait of poetry, and so I wrote like mad. I don't know if I had a lot more to say then than I do now, but I admire those times and am occasionally tempted to review a few old poems and wax poetic for a bit.

That old temptress came around again recently. I blew the dust off the medium sized cardboard moving box and cracked open one of the first notebooks I saw.

As I snuggled up to the tattered, spiral bound little book of treasure, I began to get this strange feeling. It took me by surprise. I knew I'd be feeling something when I started to revisit my works, but not this. To my dismay, I was...underwhelmed.

In fact, after the first 15 poems or so, underwhelmed devolved to a rather deep disappointment. I thought I was better than what I was reading. At times I wondered "who wrote this crap?" What happened? Why didn't anyone tell me I sucked?

It took many poems and pages and notebooks (and days) later for me to come to my senses. So I wasn't some master poet like I might have thought all these years. But I was young, inexperienced, open, curious, ambitious. Back then, I worked into each poem what life offered at the time; age, friends, school, girlfriend, work, wants. I wrote from the prospective of someone who has seen little in life yet, but was looking for so much. I realized that, in essence after all, I was a poet.

Then I had a most important revelation; I am who I am because I was who I was. Sounds simple and hardly profound, but when I examined the thought, my underwhelming poetry became as important to me as the fruitless doodles of the most famed artist.

I realized that because of my poetry, I began to take an interest in writing lyrics for songs. That lead to the pursuit of a career in the music business while in high school, which landed me a number of paid internships in New York City, which meant I never had to work a day in my neighborhood supermarket in the South Bronx like many did.

Because of my poetry, I tried my hand at graphic art, attended trade school at night for visual communications, and worked hard to be one of the best future creatives in my class. Because of my poetry, I learned early in life how to express love for someone, how to tell the difference between good and bad relationships, and made the decision to leave the comfort of the relationship I knew for the one I knew was meant to last.

Indeed, largely due to a dusty box of underwhelming works that never stood a chance to uphold my high expectations, I was fortunate enough to have lived a life that would likely have only been a dream without the gift of poetry. In that revelation, I found new respect for who I was and what I had to say.

I'm looking forward to the next tattered notebook.

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