Discovering the Relevance of Words
I grew up with the Face on Mars,
having love affairs with TV stars,
and watching delinquents race cars.
We grew up on the same screen-
just opposite sides.
Staring at each other
through the glass the divides
fantasy and the outside.
Never satisfied just to merely survive.
Never really feeling alive.
The walking dead.
I swear when I was made
they screwed on the wrong head.
The world we live in is nothing but layers and layers of poetry stacked on top of one another, squashing reality and squeezing out the raw substance that is life itself. It is all the beautiful things. It is all the terrible things. It is our very existence. It’s our reluctant coitus with fate. Poetry can shape the person you are today. It can destroy the man your were yesterday. You are never as alive as you are when you read poetry that shakes the very core of your being. For me, these words have rocked me more than any other words I’ve ever come across “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before” (The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe).
Many of you will think that it is cliché to use a famous poet like Poe when talking about a piece that has fundamentally shaped the person you are today. I should probably use a more obscure author. Perhaps an author that most people would have to look up, just to show that A) I read a lot of poetry, and B) I’m not choosing to accept the poetry that critics deem as “good poetry” and I’m making the decision to think outside the box and dare to be different. However, Poe speaks of life, death, love, tragedy. He unravels the very fibers of a human being and strips us down to nothing but slaves of the mistress known as human nature. We are only as human as the person next to us. We are all fundamentally flawed creatures.
I have stared into that darkness. Many of you have stared into that same darkness. The ebb of your life threatening to render you useless; an empty vessel that used to house individuality and soul.
I watch the television and I ponder the merit of my own existence. I read poetry, I watch poetry, I hear poetry, and I cannot help but ask myself where I belong on the tapestry of human existence. Do I have anything truly original to contribute to the world? Am I a snowflake: one of a kind, existing for but a moment and then dissolving into a homogeneous, previously unique substance; at least until I get lucky enough and some scholar (after I’m long dead) happens across a handwritten manuscript of my worst poetry and makes a fortune publishing the words of a long forgotten soul?
We exist in a world where the duality of man is but a phrase uttered only by the intellectual elite speaking of a theoretical time when morals and values did not exist and the Thomas Hobbes state of nature ruled the natural world. Man is fickle. The vast majority of human beings that wander the earth are nothing but sheep. Even the worlds largest religions refer for men as sheep. The vast majority of humankind follows the shepherds too and fro, never questioning, never objecting. Every one of us is both good and evil. We make choices every day that shape the people that we become. It is through poetry that we find ourselves. It is through poetry that we realize our mortality and it is through poetry that we can express our angst.
I used to think that every person on the other side of my television screen led a life of privilege. I believed that the people inside the box got lucky; that they won some lottery that fate was holding and I was too young and poor to buy a ticket.
I have worlds that exist only in my mind. I have characters that fight me for dominance. I have an alternate ego that comes out whenever I choose to write any stream of consciousness. The poet inside me constantly yearns for approval and the man I have become chooses not to give a shit. Was I assembled with faulty parts? Am I the Bicentennial man, an artificial being with a soul, yearning to be announced publicly as an individual before I pass away?
I’m not sure what I am. I’m not sure where I belong. But I am positive that poetry will help me find my way.