How to poem slowly

by Kat

Write a few lines on a scrap of paper — stop writing from the exhaustion of the day. Feel bad about your lack of writing and the ensuing self-deprecation. Damn it self. Practice self-compassion again — feel badly — write about not writing — wonder why you’re not writing. Stop writing because all that comes from you is slowed and stuck and your hand is cramping.

Keep writing. However slowly.

Because your words matter. Remember why you write. Create a hashtag if needed. Listen to the words around you. Before the shit was hope and fluidity — where fear dwells is the blankest page. Then blaming yourself — myself — for the exhaustion of late.

Keep writing — for these words might resonate with others. They speak words of lived truth. What we are learning to say aloud. Of autistic truth and fear of finding the right words — of self-censorship — of tweeting these fears into the void of the internet, hoping for a response — waiting for the words to come and finding the dialogue we missed entirely.

Of how to poem slowly and live, sitting around a table of witnesses to our stories. Herstories we share aloud. The deepest fears longing for expression. She keeps writing as spent emotions become verse. Scrawlings on a page that are enough. And so is she.

Poem slowly, so that these longings may coexist together. That we may know we are real. Here and out there — in these spaces of ill-fit and utter comfort.

We make up words in the safety of here — as thoughts of shame and guilt, perseveration and self-doubt turn into hope. In conversations of building and living, coexisting in spaces of acceptance.

We write, so that we are not alone — that I am not alone — in these thought loops and self-effacing litanies. That we might believe the encouragements and self-affirmations of others — because they are true and they matter.

Poeming is a process — a self-created verb to guide us through blank spaces. In fear and doubt, there was a poem and in longing for elsewhere was an expression of being. I long because there is a place calling me.

Through poetry I might arrive there.