This was written as part of a poetry portfolio for a Creative Writing Poetry course that I took in Spring 2020. It gets a bit personal. Enjoy 🙂
Poetry, prior to this course, was never a mode of writing that I took seriously. Ars Poetica appeared in my life rarely and as a strange way to tell a story, but not always. Poetry seemed like it was supposed to always rhyme and that not rhyming was a rebellion against tradition. It was something that I was only exposed to in English classes as a small part of things and was often more complicated than necessary for the poet to show off their handle on the English language.
Throughout this semester, I have learned that these were misconceptions. Poetry is incredibly powerful in the myriad of ways that it can appear, reflect, and reverberate in the poet and the reader. Poetry is more than a paltry nuisance in a required core class. Poetry is something worthy of study and of experiencing. Poetry is a mode of writing that is available to me as I am and as I grow into someone. Poetry is now another tool with which I can understand. Poetry is another way that I see. Poetry is now another way that I can feel. Poetry is.
When I think of what I could say about my poetics, I begin with a question of why I write. I believe I have a responsibility as a living human being uniquely positioned in the world to do my part to elucidate the world as it is and as it could be in whatever way that I can. I write to contribute to the betterment of the world on a personal and societal level. I can contribute by a process of Mobility through Grief.
I am aware of the baggage that I carry with me. I can feel the weight of the specifics that place on the grid of world. I am uniquely positioned because of this weight. My existence is a journey towards death. I carry my coffin to the end. I am 23 years old. I am Black. I am Pansexual. I am a cisgender male. For a long time, the way that I was described by the few people in my life was that I was smart. Much of my frame of reference has been shaped by religious institutions and American political propaganda. I am Agnostic and distrusting of religious institutions. I am a native Houstonian from a predominantly Blank and Latinx community. I have a strained or nonexistent relationship with the adult male figures in my family. I have spent time in Outpatient Care for Suicidal Ideation. These elements of myself and others do not make me better or worse than those who live or have lived. They only make me different.
In order to contribute to the betterment of the world, I must seek mobility. I must be aware of the world as I see it. I must be aware of conflicts between my perspective and others’. I must be open to reflecting and acting upon those conflicts of perspective. And I must continue this process until I die. As someone existing in the world, seeking to contribute to the evolution of the world on a personal and societal level should always be the goal. To contribute is to be mobile, ever moving towards a better understanding of the world as it is and as it could be.
Mobility is possible only through grief. Grief is usually viewed as something that exists because of lost. But grief comes from Mobility. We grieve for the world as we have seen it. We grieve for the conflict of worldviews. We grieve as we reflect. And we grieve as we act. There is loss, but the grief of loss gives us the ability to move as we seek to contribute. Mobility is achieved through processing grief.
The poets that I have connected to also seek mobility through grief. Their poetics connect to the Grief of the human experience to contribute to the betterment of the world on a personal and societal level. Terrance Hayes’ obsession and worship of Etheridge Knight is on another level, an exploration of himself. Hayes questions his perspective as a college student and his current perspective of Etheridge Knight as a poet and as a flawed man. Through this he grieves the conflicts between and finds mobility. The fellow students in this course have also done this. They have found spaces where grief exists, where a conflict lies, and have selected upon it in their poetry using different techniques in an effort that produces mobility for themselves and others towards a better world.
In my poetry I have also sought mobility through grief. I have connected with the grief in my life. Poetry has been a way for me to process the world as I have seen it with the world as it is. My poetry has come from this place. I reflect on my mind and put what grieves me on paper. Usually it comes out as a rough idea or verse. From there, I rely on my intuition and the techniques that have made an impression on me to influence the structure of the poem. The needs of the poem depend on the subject. When writing, “A Human Experience in 7 Steps”, I wanted to use the words, lines, and stanzas to build so that it could reflect the compounding and complexity of time. However, the structural choices in “Gilded Gamble”, were looser. When drafting, I only wanted each stanza to have the same number of lines and for the entire poem to fit on one page.
In my poetry, I have confronted myself. The fear that exists in my mind like the hum of a refrigerator have been a source of grief for me. These fears come from the grief and pain that come from my unique position. In “For Every Moment I Am, I feel invincible”, I experimented with words and phrases from my journal and the poetry that other students in the course to confront my strong emotions at the beginning of my relationship.