And the poets have taught me how to transform my pain


Natalie Mix

A photo from Lin Manuel Miranda’s poetry book, “Gmorning, Gnight! Little pep talks for me and you,” which I reviewed my freshman year. I depended on these poems because they told me I was enough.

Poetry is the language of unfathomable pain, of broken people. Poetry is the language of exquisite moments out of time, of mundane beauty rendered in words. Poetry is the language of this moment, with the lamp out of place on the coffee table, the empty glasses and plastic cupcake containers, the pens and scattered papers leftover from my desperate struggle to not fall back into the same pattern again.

These are the moments out of time. I stare into space and allow music I’ve never heard to bandage the bruise, and I try to envision the future, try to reconcile the day. But today can’t be reconciled; it can only become tomorrow, and that’s the saving grace—that tomorrow is a flutter of eyelashes away.

These are the moments that I start to think about poetry. My mind is piecing together fragments, like putting together a puzzle: something to fill the time, a search to put the right pieces into place until it all comes together with that final. But there’s a time in the middle, where I’m quick to find the pieces, quick to find where they go, and I feel electrified, alive.

That’s like poetry, the moment where my fingers don’t stop moving, sometimes across the keys, but sometimes around the pen because poetry is simply better handwritten.

Poetry is my future, more than a teenage love affair, and it’s the best way to say all the things they told me I shouldn’t. I have to think that the words allow themselves to be so easily captured for a reason—that someone needs to hear them, that there’s more to it than me needing to say them.

Like music, like stories, it’s the milieu to the mayhem that’s become mundane.

Someday, I think I can say what hasn’t been said, what hasn’t been heard.

I think poetry is easier because the words are an extension of myself—left hanging, untied threads, unfinished. And in poetry’s beautiful cadence, I can leave those half-thoughts as they are. You can interpret it as you like. Believe what you want. I’d prefer it if you missed the point.

Poetry is just natural. Like music, like stories, it’s the milieu to the mayhem that’s become mundane.

And I long to know every eccentricity of poetry, every distinctive form that it can take. I want every decision to be purposeful, every word to fall with poise.

I want to linger in the poetry aisles of bookstores, acquire collections, for my own bookshelves to be overflowing with the words of the greats.

The poets are the greats because they can turn pain into a stunning beauty. They can mold the form of my very own heart, wrench it with their secrets and blasphemies.

One day, I can only hope to be in the pantheon of poets. One day, I can only dream for my own books, my own pages of words, to touch the soul of someone similarly broken, to bring them to similar joy, to show them that every poem is new because every day is new.

And tomorrow’s poems won’t be the same.