WHAT IS POETRY?

What is Poetry? Is it a dying
Black ink on amber colored paper?
Or sex at seven pm?

Please, let me know.
I have prayed, immersed myself in meditation,
Sought for answers, writing furiously,
Checked my e-mails, had breakfast,…

My son and I are going to the purple mountain
To listen to the song thrush and the nightingale
And move nearby the dust among the ruins
Like swirling snakes in the yellow sand.

Briskly broom away the clouds
that suffocate the view.
A starry night has stories to fish for,
rains of memories to enter the fire
that wildly sings.

My woolen doll… so long ago… that little man,
My grandma made… when did I outgrow …

Vincent, do you know?
(His picture’s on my bedside table)
Why do you look at me like that?
Boiled egg! Lightbulb! Rhododendron!

I remember sitting as a boy, ‘t was an early Saturday morning,
In the spacious seat of my dad’s white company car,
A bit drowsy, carsick and uncomfortable.
But, I felt honored like a little prince.
He gave me sandwiches and butter cakes.

While managing the wheel he redressed my life.
We sat there side by side rather quietly,
mostly silenced by ourselves.
My papa has never been a talker,
And the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

But, unlike him, I love poetry.
So, let me softly hand you the poems I’ve made
Like the wind and the creatures that circulate
The pollen of sweet and violated flowers.
Just like that.

Just Keep On Writing

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”
― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Since his first encounter with the poems of John Keats in high school, Leonard has been in love with the idea of expressing himself with poetry. That’s why he started to write.

For example, he would arrive in class early and, seated at his schooldesk, start scribbling. His classmates and his teacher saw at his appearance not much more than a mole hill. The mole was long gone. Leonard avoided social interactions, because he was blind of his depression at the time and did not fully realize his condition. What he did know was that no salvation would be his in sharing his pain, only with He who is all seeing. Searching in his underground maze, he felt as if he didn’t have it in him to socially bond and relate to people in a meaningful, insightful and constructive way.

So, he did what he thought was best, and that was – with bravoure – to write. Scribbling in class and at home started to function as an antidote to his misery. It even started to serve him as a spiritual and aesthetic practice. And before he knew it the act of writing had become his most preferable way of communication.

What did he write? The ink he used, a mud stream of consciousness with confessions, desires, concerns, cries, grateful feelings, thoughts, dialogues,… anything that Leonard could reap out of him. There was something about the representation of his inner world on paper that was healing to and clicked with him, something about the creative process of writing that he really loved and that he still madly loves.

Leonard was a good student. He participated well in class, but avoided talking and especially the chit-chat culture in the classrooms and halls. But, this came along with the fear that people would judge him when he opened his mouth, that he would get entangled in conversational traps, having nothing but vain words to utter, nothing at his disposal to defend himself against his demons.

And that’s why he evolved into some sort of a sponge, a silent observer, ultimately an artist. The pen became his sword and the paper his teacher. He would use his tongue only when he felt he really needed to. There on the paper he found solace.