I wish I'd taken at least one poetry workshop (did I ever? I don't think I did) at some point.
I know I'm no poet, but I think it would have shown me something about pacing and phrasing and keeping a musical rhythm.
Poetry is a finer art than prose; a novel can tell you a story, but a poem makes you feel what it's about.
I think about all the experimental short stories I put forward for workshops because they were nothing I really cared about. I never really risked myself, did I? I feel a bit fraudulent. That's not much of an artist, is it, to disallow vulnerability, to only put forth the events that I'd already processed and healed? There's no rawness or growth from such a practice.
Maybe I don't really know myself after all (and how could I?); I only know what is past, not at at this moment, and certainly not where I am going. I don't ask "who am I?" because that assumes I am a "who," when "what am I" --no, "what is 'I'?" is the question I am really pondering.
I don't consider myself a writer anymore, because I don't know what it means. I'm not an artist because I'm not expressing anything real. I'm hiding. I'm always hiding, or running to some new town, or coming back to an old one to rest.
What is real is that I'm empty, and cluttering up the space with ideas about reality that I can never confirm, identities I as a human can never truly know. I select aspects of a persona to present because they are the most pleasing, all the while I am an empty eye staring out from behind a rotating handful of filters to shape my perspective. I'm not a person. No one is a person. That's just another filter, another shape to take.
People will insist that I am loved, but to be loved, don't you have to be known? How can emptiness be known? How can an eternal, infinite, undifferentiated void be known or loved or understood to be different from anything else? You don't love me; you cannot. You love your perception of me, and I love my perception of you. "I" is a mystery, perhaps the only unsolvable one, and it is the same for all of us.
Is it a shape we take, is it a story we tell ourselves? Is it the pages and canvas upon which we are scrawled? So many times we look at what comes next, as if we are drawing a line through time, when perhaps we are painting a portrait, revisiting our definitions and contrasts through the use of negative space. We may not know what we are, but we usually know what we are not.
People who try to control you try to tell you what you are. They're just telling you what lenses they use. I have no interest in control. I have an interest in love, and I love you so much I will always let go of my idea of you, to allow you to be whatever you choose, for you are not your portrait. You are the canvas, the artist, the paints, and absolutely nothing in particular.
I will love you by believing that you are free, completely and entirely. You do not need me or my ideas or my stories. I will not tell you a story about time, beginnings or endings, because I don't know if any of that is real.
I don't know what I am, or what you are, but I cannot be convinced that the you beneath the you you think you are is temporary. What can exist without the whole of itself? What could exist without you or I, because I am certain they are the same, although I can never convince anyone of anything at all. I wouldn't want to, though, because that is an attempt at control, and control is the opposite of true love.
All we ever really do is use our ideas to fill the empty space of self and tomorrow. The more we let go, the clearer the void becomes, until even the questions go silent.
I lied in the title; I do apologize. Thank you.