The Music of Poetry

(This entry was hand-written on 10/27/03. I was in a very dark place then, but I’m glad it produced this piece of writing)

Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I’ve a call.

Those lines by Sylvia Plath kept running through my mind all day. My mind heavy with sleep, with suffering and longing. My heart heavy and burdened and I couldn’t hold back the tears on the bus, both to and from work. There’s a scene in the movie “Sylvia” where she asks someone what to do “when your life gets as bad as it can, and just keeps getting worse.” And she is told that she should just “keep going.” But she meets that reply with a blank stare, unable to even ask anything more. Unable to ask for guidance or help.

She describes feeling like a negative of a person- hollow inside (I know just what feeling she meant) as if she were a non-entity. Someone who has never felt or wrote or thought anything. It’s like that feeling I have of being outside of my body- like my spirit escapes for brief moments and I feel panic coming on that I will forget how to breathe, how to stand, how to walk, how to talk. Somehow I bring myself back, but still never really feel as if I’m contained in my body, but floating outside myself, wondering always at my discomfort.

There is a beautiful music in those lines: ‘I do it exceptionally well. I do it so it feels like hell, I guess you could say I’ve a call.’ It’s slow and meditative and reads slowly, commanding to be pondered, awed, studied, explored. I sang the lines in my head on the way home, walking through the rain, on damp sidewalks coated with soaked leaves. ‘I do it so it feels like hell. I guess you could say I’ve a call.’ It felt empowering and beautiful and sacred. I lost myself in the music of those lines.

Maybe it is the feeling of isolation or fear, of everything being so completely unknown, so meaningless. Everything I had and lost. Everything Sylvia had but she still could not bear living. It makes me wonder if anyone is ever really satisfied. Or if our longing is what keeps us alive- or ultimately destroys us in the end.

To have whole days just to write is my dream. So many ideas lost to idleness, to monotony, to mediocrity. I owe her more than that. As a living, breathing person, I want to believe I still have a chance to taste life, to obtain what I’ve always wanted, the only thing I could wish on, the only thing I could dream of. The only thing that is slowly taking my sanity: the desire for physical love- big, booming, shattering sweet, pleasurable, beautiful, life-altering love. The feeling of it- to be filled by another person. To breathe together as one. To be whole.


November 30, 2012. Tags: , , . writing.

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