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Whelp, if this isn’t a fitting 1,000th post to my blog. I’m late to the game, but April is National Poetry Month and so,  I wanted to write a poem. Now, there’s much I want to say about this poem and I know blah blah, I should let it breathe on its own, but I can’t help myself, as I’m fascinated by what I’m about to discuss. For the longest time, I’ve romanticized the creation of art and specifically, the art of writing and in particular, the “damned artist” motif. I’m just attracted to the idea of being damned enabling the best creativity and art because your mind is just in a different head space. 

And yet. I’m not in that head space as much anymore since meeting Rachel. And it’s creating an interesting dynamic when I try to write flash fiction or poetry. That “damned artist” head space was the endless well I ventured to when arriving at the threshold of the blank screen. But now it’s, like, hmm, I don’t think I want to the well today. Not when Rachel exists. Why would I want to? In some ways, it’s creating a crisis in my head, “Can I still write without feeling like I need to be damned in order to do so?”

Naturally, the candle image, I feel, best helped to express this dichotomy playing out in my head, as well as a much more subtler reflection of my recent dive into Buddhism. But primarily, of course, it’s an ode to Rachel. Which itself is weird, right? Most of everything I’ve ever written in some way has been a reflection of longing, torment or angst over love, but now I’m writing about it in a positive light, excuse the pun. Alas. Here’s the poem. I’ll shut up now. 

I Existed

like a candle,
my only thought was to
burn, burn, burn,
not realizing I was
burning through myself.

For the candle to breathe
and sing its burning song
in the darkness, it has to
burn, burn, burn,
and so, too, did I think this.

The candle hopes for an errant
wind to extinguish it, so
it doesn’t have to
burn, burn, burn,
and instead it can weep in
its melting wax,
and so, too, did I desire this.

All the candle’s strength,
even the strength to
burn, burn, burn,
derives from a flimsy wick
dancing in the darkness,
in the forever void,
and so, too, did I dance like this.

Until she came.

Her soft hands cupped,
patient, but daring
around the flame of
the candle, safeguarding
the flimsy wick.

It was the first time
the shadows it
projected were contained.

It was the first time
the heat it
emanated was contained.

It was the first time
the candle knew
the wick
doesn’t have to
burn, burn, burn
down.

There’s another way.

candle gif

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