I Miss People

I’m not speaking about certain individuals like a lost love or the fatality of friends

I mean the sincerity of strangers threaded throughout our thumbprints

Those unsung spirits

Heroines and heroes sans egos but with in-erasable emotions

I miss someone wearing their heart on their sleeves and instead of shooing them away, I would roll mine up in turn and say,

Let’s see how we can work with this

 

But instead, I work to brighten the smiles of people on a screen

Chained to a desk, the only heartbeat I feel is the pulsing of the mouse underneath my hand

The only connections I see are through a glass screen into a false reality

I miss hellos that led to handshakes and handshakes that end in leaving hugs, and all of that spectacular serendipity of connectivity in between

 

Give me a dive bar where I may go swimming in the hearts of man

Unchain me from the chain restaurants that source their livelihood from the masses

Give me someone local and lean, whose meat is juicy like their stories.

 

It’s no wonder that en entire generation of people connecting online oftentimes feel themselves a little bit disconnected

A poke is a joke and a like is like a fleeting lark

Momentarily engaging but all of this social interaction is ultimately leading to absolute isolation

And there is no sharing in the longevity of loneliness

 

While we spend hours cramming the best parts of ourselves onto the Internet

We’re leaving the focal point of ourselves back in fundamental fibers

Those beautiful inconsistencies of humans

That recognition of a counterpoint in another soul

But instead we counter online arguments

Facebook battle war zones littered with text instead of empty bullet casings

Fueling the hate with blank boxes of ammunition

Igniting fires we are trying so desperately to escape within ourselves

Reignited by the artificial flames of the media and the ‘other’

 

Even the tinder we have today cannot seem to spark because it will never be able to match that feeling of going weak in the knees

LOL no longer an abbreviation but a code of letters standing for the idea of laughter

But there’s not shortening like the shortness of breath from laughing so hard you cannot stop

With Buzzfeed ringing in my ear like the banality of busy bee

I sit at my desk, my fingers type out messages I yearn to speak aloud

My eyes scan pictures I wish­­ to witness

My heart longs to experience it with humankind instead of the holograms of the herd

 

This petty poem will never placate the palpable nature of people

This pandering of the populous will never play out the way we planned it

Until we fight for the friendships we’ve forsaken for Facebook

Until we stop idolizing instant individuals.

Until we stop teetering on the text of tweets

We will remain in our attempts to recreate this rapturous reality we’ve tried so hard to replicate

Until the only thing that lingers are the hallowed hearts harboring hardened hardships

Ultimately pining away for that palpable perfection of people.

 

 

MADE: I Want to Be a Slam Poet

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Who would have thought this dumbass could write poetry?

 A few months ago I started to watch TED talks at work to help break up the monotony of music I had become bored with. So instead of my background noise being random beats and lyrics, it became rhetoric by scientists and authors, adventurers’ sharing their journeys, and soon: slam poets.

My favorite talks began to be ones done by Rives and Sarah Kay. Their words resonated with me and I found myself replaying this talk over and over again, just to watch Sarah Kay’s initial poem she begins her talk with If I Should Have a Daughter. One day I found myself actually watching the entire talk over again. Since you’re probably not obsessed with spoken word and probably not going to watch the entire talk, here’s a synopsis: Sarah Kay began doing poetry at a young age and found a world of encouraging poets who helped her to find a voice from a young age. She then started her own program helping teens to do the same through their own writing.

And I found myself thinking: I wish I could do that.

And then I found myself thinking: Why can’t I do that?

And then I decided to do it. Be a slam poet that is.

When I decided this was something I wanted to do I began devouring anything and everything slam poetry. Hours flew by filled with videos from topics ranging from thighs to drug dealer’s daughters. Poems filled with passion, intelligence, conviction and people literally baring their souls for anyone to listen to.

And then I found myself thinking: I’m never going to be good at this.

It’s a discouraging thought, yes. But it was also the first time in a very long time that I had found something that I wanted to do – but wasn’t good at initially. I felt like my writing was sub-par, immature, and trite. Nothing I seemed to write lived up to anything I was watching. But I found myself still trying, still pushing, and still believing that if I worked hard – this could eventually be something I was good at.

Then I started going out to open mic/slam poetry events in Fort Worth (thanks to a very wonderful friend who gratefully brought me with him) and saw the range of poets that exist outside the realm of Youtube views. Real people, even realer stories, and the same supportive community that Sarah Kay had found.

So I began talking to people in the community and asking advice. Everyone just told me to keep writing, to keep trying, and to finally just bite the bullet and perform sooner rather than later. But I found myself still scared to even tell people this was something I was attempting to do and the idea of being onstage again terrified me.

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Side note: I did theater for almost 8 years. I have performed in poetry events such as this growing up, but always with the words of others. The catch is that I never felt I was good enough because I never advanced in competitions. I always felt inadequate or never quite good enough compared to other performers (see: reasons why I didn’t major in theater) so I had a stigma in my mind that this was something I had already proven wasn’t a good fit for me. Despite my internal negativity, I kept telling myself how much I had changed since high school, how much more confident I am in myself now, and how this sense of self (and an overly determined self) would be the key to actually succeeding.

So…I did it.

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Chyeah.

 

After finally writing a poem that I felt accurately reflected me for my first piece, I did spoken word at an open mic. I’ve performed it twice now and I am in love (albeit still terrified). It’s something I think about daily and it’s a creative and challenging outlet I find myself enjoying more and more every day. The people in this community are incredible and inspiring in themselves and just being able to try to become a part of this is exhilarating. My friends and family have been nothing but supportive throughout the process and without their ears to listen and their own words of encouragement ringing in my ears – I never would have had the balls to do it.

While yes I’m writing this as a reflection on my own personal process, I also want to just tell you that YES, YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU SET YOUR MIND TO. It can be small, big, scary, exciting, uncomfortable, stupid, silly, daring, or whatever you find yourself yearning to do. Just bite the bullet and believe that you CAN. I may not ever be an ‘amazing’ slam poet, but I will always feel amazing knowing this was something I set my mind to and accomplished, despite being intimidated and feeling inadequate.

And if you’re curious how it went….