Happy National Poetry Month!
What? Poetry Month has never been much of your thing? I confess, it hasn’t been for me either. I only found out about this 30-day long celebration of the “joy and expressiveness” that poetry arouses because I have – regretfully – missed out on several odd holidays over the previous year. (National hotdog and donut days come readily to mind.)
I used to love to write and read poetry, because it was an outlet for the darkness that was pent up in my tortured teen soul; but as I’ve found some healing from my prepubescent demons, I have found that I haven’t had much use for the style of writing. Which is a shame, because there is some really fantastic writing out there. However, the month has inspired me to think about the many themes that poetry tackles, and I think it’s safe to say that love sits among the top 5.
As I thought about all the issues being in love; trouble finding love; or fending off the undesired love of a persistent would-be paramour has brought me, I was reminded of one of (if not theee) first times I committed my deepest feelings of affection for another person to paper. His name was Keith. He was my neighbor – a tall man who wore acid washed jeans and sweatpants and wore the most splendid afro-Scurl. He had to be in his 20s, but I couldn’t tell you for sure, because I was only 6 or 7 years old.
My sister and I would scream Keith’s name from beneath his apartment window:
“Keith! Keeeeiiithhh! Come play with us!”
And he always would. We’d play freeze tag and race each other, and he usually let us win. This was a huge confidence booster for me, and I appreciate him for it. Over time, I found myself thinking about Keith all the time. I couldn’t wait to play with him the next day. Surely, this was love. I decided I would tell him so. I wrote him a heartfelt note to express my newfound feelings. It said, simply:
It took me forever to write, scribbling and erasing until it looked just right. I put it on our mailbox just as I’d seen my parents do with our bills and waited for the postman to deliver my sweet missive. ( I was confident the postman knew Keith, because who didn’t?)
What was Keith’s reaction to my love letter? None, because my mother discovered it, took it out of the mailbox and mocked me without mercy for its contents. I wouldn’t write another love letter for twenty-some odd years, this time to the man who would become my baby-daddy and then HE printed them off and presented them to the court as evidence of my obsession with him. You cannot imagine the humiliation!
Have you had better luck with writing love letters? When was the last time you wrote or received one? This is a safe space. You can share… Don’t leave me to be embarazzzed in this post alone!