My oldest brother is a talented musician, who has been composing and recording works in his own studio for years.
“I just can’t write lyrics worth a damn,” he once told me during a visit.
“I write poetry,” I offered, “but have no musical aptitude.”
“We should put your words and my music together!”
So I sent him home with a copy of my latest creations. Time passed and I didn’t hear anything from him – nothing out of the ordinary – and then a year later he was visiting again.
“Did you ever do anything with the poetry I gave you?” I asked eagerly.
“Well,” he paused, looking for the right words. “About that…I really couldn’t find anything I could work with…I mean…your poetry’s so dark…have you ever thought about seeing a shrink?”
We laughed, and I let it drop. That was nearly two decades ago – I was going through a rough patch – and admittedly, raging against life. I stopped writing poetry, or anything at all.
Then a few years back, I discovered the blogging world, and armed with new inspiration, gave myself permission to start again. First, I wrote anecdotal stuff – life lessons, inspiration, or comical happenings – but it wasn’t long before the poetry re-emerged, and took over my blog (forcing me to start this new one).
Some of my creations are lighthearted, but for the most part, they belie a seriously sinister underbelly – as if I am confessing to not be the cheery, upbeat person I portray to the outer world.
Many times, in that moment between editing and clicking “publish” my brother’s words come back to haunt me: I do appear to be in need of psychiatric help.
Poems, I tell my friends and loved ones, are like photographs: they capture a single moment in a sea of many; they are not representative of the whole.
And yet, they appear to be conveying some truth – be it personal or societal (the latter is what I am striving for) – and I cannot deny ownership. Is this just the nature of art, I wonder, or am I truly damaged?
I’ll have to ask my shrink, next time I see her.