I read a poem aloud

I decided to talk to one of the coworkers I had never spoken to since starting work. He always kept to himself, writing during the lunch break. One day I even asked him why he was quiet, but it wasn’t because I wanted to talk with him. I just thought it was polite. But that changed, we talked on a one-to-one level. Just us two in the break room. So I told him about my magazine and that I was a poet. And he told me that he wrote song lyrics.

And I thought it was weird, that two poets could sit with each other and talk words. I can’t tell you the last time I talked to a writer. Weirder thing, I decided to talk to the coworker again. But this time he read to me one of my songs. And I absolutely downplayed the whole writer thing. I sat as if I was hardly moved by the words (which were good, and I said so). I downplayed myself as a writer.

But the words spoke for themselves. I read a poem aloud. I, the writer, made an appearance.

And all the downplaying and all the relaxed talk about writing a literary and art magazine editor became thin air. The air thinned and thinned until I found myself into a human trap. My coworker shared his hardships with his grandmother and I vaguely told him about my hardships with my grandmother. And he spoke of the grandeurs his art has provided for him and lamented at the lack of a partner and Queen. And I became quiet. The candid and pressing discussion opened a pocket door into a world far unimaginable and endless.

The world inside of pain and hurt.

There are two words that I roll my eyes to without thinking: pain and healing. And somehow I have the personality to deflect both at all times. I could be proud sometimes that I conquered my the different obstacles I’ve experienced in my life. But, I wouldn’t say that I’ve healed from the experiences. If anything, the pain and agony of each situation replays itself. It grows and grows and grows, like a volcano that’s constantly evolving and erupting.

For the first time in the whole of my life did I finally express reasons why I closed my first magazine. I told my coworker that being an editor and poet led me to seeing a lot of people going in and out of total despair. That I had seen a lot of people get sucked in and flown out of habits that aren’t so easily medicated or cured. That I just can’t always sit there and help people go down the sharp staircase into their most intimate feelings and experiences for the sake of art. Because I can’t do anything about those feelings and experiences.

So back to the words pain and healing. Two of my hardest challenges as I walk this path as poet and editor and future seminary student. How can I heal myself? How can God heal me? How can I help a writer, artist, or friend go down that staircase and build pocket doors into a world we can’t always deal with?


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