“Often, in this poetry, we steal words, gather kindling, twist newspaper, circle rocks, and wait for the flame.” Sherman Alexie
I laid on my bed, journal open to a blank page, pen in my hand, ready to write. I waited for the words I knew were inside of me to come out. Nothing happened. Like Sherman Alexie in the quote above, I gathered kindling and twisted newspaper, but still, no flame. After several minutes of frustration staring at the empty page, I realized that this inability to find the words was the flame. The dizzying lexicon bouncing around in my mind was the sentiment to capture. I embraced the feeling and this little poem emerged.
Knocking against one another,
Never finding each other long enough,
To build a sentence.
The story is swirling,
Searching for structure,
In the dizzying lexicon.
Instead of fighting the frustration, I needed to embrace my thoughts and emotions with curiosity and create from what I felt inside. Expression came with little effort once my mindset shifted. The flame burned with ease. This is often the case. And if that doesn’t work, I close the journal, go to sleep, and try again tomorrow 🙂
Hold on to what is still inside of me
The breathing in and out, the beating of my heart
Those constants that are always near
Grasp on to what is moving in the world
The whirling seconds, the leapfrogging moments,
Those variables always at my fingertips
Hold on to what is still in the world
The reflecting sun, the strumming guitar
Those outer comforts instilling peace
Grasp on to what is moving inside of me
The turning of my mind, the chaos of my heart
Those gears unlocking piece by piece
I wrote this poem on a flight home to Minneapolis after visiting friends in Seattle. Five days prior I had left the company where I had been working for eight years. I would be starting my new job in twelve hours. In that moment it felt like everything was simultaneously moving and standing still. The airplane was flying at 600 mph, yet it was so smooth I couldn’t feel any movement. My new work world was a complete unknown, but I felt solid in the decision to leave my previous company and do something different. Isn’t all of life like this? The balance of moving forward while remaining grounded, seeking change and maintaining stability, pursuing growth and pausing to rest.
The photo was taken on a beach at Cape Tribulation in Queensland, Australia.