It’s a four-letter word for me right now. Has been since I stumbled into the smothering fear of perpetuating false prophecy by writing in a literary form more implicitly regarded as spiritual than most.
Though I have no doubt a more moderate tone can be applied to poetry (E. J. Pratt’s “The Shark” comes to mind), I’ve simply lost all confidence that I’m fit for the job. Nazim Hikmet must certainly have had his dark days while writing about freedom in a way that transcended his prison walls–but for me, at present, I still haven’t found a route back to poetry that isn’t paved in hypocrisy.
Poetry does feature in some prose I’m presently working on, though, as a vital component of the world-building process–and so perhaps that avenue will help remedy me to the form anew. But perhaps not.
In any case, when I set myself to the task of graveyarding a bunch of my writing, I stumbled upon the following works of poetry in limbo. These are the last three poems I completed (the whole of my poetic output for a year and a half), and as I reread them I found the bleakness of their topics rather fitting as a closing note (much as certain, flawed aspects of their construction aggravate me still).
I want to say that I was adequate at this form before I left off, with poetry published in Ryga, ditch, Rattle, and The Pedestal Magazine–but I think it more honest to say that I was just on my way to being adequate. Now I cannot say with any certainty that I’ll ever really be present in this form again. How much I wish some days that I could be master of them all.
I must note that one choice phrase from the first poem comes from a theatre of the same name, Tottering Biped. Lovely visual, that–but not at all of my own creation. As for the rest–well, it’s up here for posterity’s sake. Much of the short fiction I decided to graveyard, meanwhile, will likely never see the light of day–and you can go right ahead and thank me in advance for that.
Writing longer fiction makes me a touch cranky, I find. How about you?