To the Poets who Came before Me

Last Sunday I went to a poetry show featuring four amazing poets, two of whom shaped my early development as a writer and creative. The experience was completely amazing and I am forever grateful for it. The poetry show featured Jasmine Mans, Alysia Harris, John Wood and WJ Lofton. The first two are the women whose words painted the most beautiful background for the life of a young girl I with a thirst for a deeper understanding of language.

Upon leaving the show I wrote this:

“I’m doing my best to describe what I just witnessed. I am more full than I have ever been. I am more warm than I have ever been. I am more beautiful simply from witnessing the shedding of skin, the sharing of stories. I sat at the feet of God and allowed His angels to shower me with their words. I am better simply from sharing space with them.

I wrote about the experience but the message was deleted so I scramble to once again make sense of this warmth and I witness my words failing me. Remember when Moses spoke with God and afterwards his face shone?

I am spinning with words and emotions and light. I’ve seen God after looking for Him for so many weeks. I’ve seen God and He wasn’t where I thought He’d be.

That night I was so overwhelmed with emotions that it took me a while to truly process everything I experienced.

A day later I realized that in the middle of listening to Jasmine Mans’ “Footnotes to Kanye”, I felt a sudden desire to plant a garden, to witness sowing and reaping. To be in the center of a garden I created myself, a world of my own making.

It was the first night (in a long time) when the warmth of my tears felt comforting.

To the poets who came before me,

I was a 12 year old girl with heavy eyelids and trembling lips. It was 3am every single morning before your words lulled me to sleep. I have your poems memorized because they were the soundtrack of my dreams. No doctor could figure out why I could never fall asleep but I knew it was the words floating around my room. You gave words meaning and unraveled the knots in my stomach I could never make sense of. You taught me the true strength in words. I learned more about life and love from your spoken word than any other experience I had.

Now I am a 22 year old woman with heavy eyelids and trembling lips. I carry works of poetry in my purse and write poems in my notes app. I still fall in love with the words floating around my room, grateful they never left. No matter how loud the white noise I play to fall asleep is, your words are still the soundtrack of my dreams. I still don’t know how to make sense of the knots in my stomach but I’m grateful for the opportunity to find strength in my true authentic self. Poetry is still teaching me life lessons while saving me along the way.

To the poets who came before me,

Thank you.

Words still fail me.

Thank you.

I know there are a million ways to say this but,

Thank you.

I’m using eight letters to describe my deepest gratitude.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

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