I present to you a collection of poetry written to be performed (spoken word poetry if you will), and I hope that you find it in yourself to just try out the waters.
Who knows? You may find something you like.
"Here Lies a [Wo]man's Private Poetry
- Phil Kaye
I once died in my sleep.
Well, not literally of course.
But I did dream about the afterlife.
And you were there.
I don’t know why it was you.
Maybe it made the most sense that it was you, because we were so similar.
I think maybe I dreamed of you as an apology
for that one time you told me how you imagined yourself choking on medication.
I did nothing to help you. Even after you helped me.
I bet you don’t even remember the way I called you
with a kitchen knife to my wrist
trying to say “goodbye”
but only able to say “help me”.
And you did.
I’ll never forget that.
In the dream I guess I wanted to repay you for it,
so when your door closed,
I invited you into mine
and I carried you with my wings
across the city I loved and you loathed.
And when we finally reached the sea shore,
You threw your wishes into the water
and we watched them glitter into a meteor shower
like two teenagers hoping that the future would be brighter than this.
And when I asked you why you did it,
You said “the same reason as you”
And you asked me to let you go into the water
the same way one would ask their ashes to be spread in the four winds.
So I did.
And as I did I saw you dissolve into that starlight,
just a boy with wishes that were too far away.
And I sat and watched and watched and watched;
wings too heavy to carry me
and my tears.
“Poetry,” I explain to him, “can save someone’s life.”
“How?” He asks me, cynicism glaring out from the wax of his greasy pompadour.
I’m here, right?
How easy is it to forget that?
That the happiness we all so desperately work for can be found right here?
In here? In poetry?
‘Cuz it was never something so big as prizes,
Won on a stage with thousands of people on hundreds of rises,
Or your soulmate who you spend watching the horizon,
But the memories you make after that fire,
Is where my poetry really lies in.
Which is to say we equate achievements too much with happiness.
And the strangest thing is that
Nearly everyone knows this.
Yet we are still taught
Numbers speak louder than words,
That something tangible will always be more valuable
Than the connections we make or the lines we don’t rehearse.
Where my happiness comes from is how I make a verse,
How my stories and values and truths come first,
And those cloudy minded idols we aim to be,
Are the ideologies I aim to curse.
So for me, poetry is more alive in my veins than my blood is.
It’s pulled me through life’s episodes and crisis-es.
When I had nothing left to hold onto it latched onto my heart strings.
You can see it bring light to my irises.
But sometimes I believe,
When the rhyme breaks or when my voice hitches,
That poetry can’t save me.
That this time it’ll not be enough.
That it can’t change the world.
That it can’t fix what’s so deeply broken,
Like our society
And I find myself in tears for all of my friends who can’t afford to cry.
Because I can’t help them with what helped me.
Because I’m afraid it’ll give up on me, or I’ll give up on it.
And nothing terrifies me more than losing the only damn thing in this world that I truly want to do.
So yes, poetry can’t save everyone;
But it can try.
I can try.