The Writing of a Poem

The impulse comes when an impression, image, or amorphous string of words slithers into my mind, pulsing until I have no choice but to write it down. I’m propelled not by an idea or storyline, but by the impetus of sound, to reconstruct and reimagine pain, shame, joy, and desire. I don’t know what the poem means until at least halfway through – sometimes not until the final line. Meaning emerges from something unknowable in my gut and from the free associative power of language. I am nothing but a vessel. By writing, I find out what I think.

I write to find the final line. I write to feel in the dark for power. I write because I get a tremendous, euphoric head rush through the all-encompassing exertion of writing. I want everything I’ve ever thought before – every epiphany, every empathy, every earworm – to travel through the craft and the music of poetry into a unity of words. I write because it’s the sincerest expression of self-love. I write because it allows me to summon the most immersive depths of the mind, where I hold promise. I write because it’s never perfect.

Writing cannot evade the darkness. I write to sublimate my shadow.  I write to break taboos, change perspectives, and be honest with my truth and any universal truths I’ve come to know in the moment of writing. I write for the community I’ve found in writing. I write for the sober community and the mental health community and the community of anyone who wants to grow. I write to ignite my nerves and channel the fire that explodes. I write because I want to write, and I want to write more. I write poems because in a poem, there is a world. I write to explore and acknowledge and respect that world. But mostly, I want to hear it. And I can only do that when I write.

Copyright © 2020 Dana Gittings. All rights reserved.