You know that part of your life when you thought only people in love had sex? And that point in your life when you found out the truth, that some people are doing it just for the hell of it, that some people actually make a career out of being good at it, and they just want to do it with as many people as possible? And it kinda corrupts your mind, when you cross that delicate threshold; because at that moment that you knew it, you also immediately knew that you could never un-know it? And sex will never be the same again.
You kinda wish old age hadn’t come too soon. Like your innocence was grabbed like a rug from under your feet and you’re reeling with unstable knees from the newfound responsibility.
It was like that with me and poetry. I thought people could only write poems about the things they actually felt. I thought there would be some kind of malfunction, some kind of impenetrable wall you slam against, if you tried to write something you weren’t really going through. So I never tried. And it was just like trying to be a good girl: to only have sex with the men I cared about.
I had a very high opinion about poetry, you see. I held it in my heart as sacred and pure as marriage. The ultimate form of expression. Something that shouldn’t be mixed up with lies or complications. It was the way out of my many confusions, so poetry, in itself shouldn’t be confusing.
So when I learned that…it wasn’t so, I had some kind of a poetic identity crisis I couldn’t explain. I started questioning everything. My own intentions about why I wrote. The intentions of the people who read me. Whether I wanted to be read. What being read meant. And it scared me to realize that I’ve been reading other people’s poetry with a one-track mind. It humiliated me to realize that I’ve been reading other people’s poetry thinking that they meant everything they’d said. I felt betrayed in a way that I didn’t even understand.
And all the men I’ve loved that I’ve written poetry for suddenly seemed too many. And the more I read my words the more I felt like a whore. And that’s the kind of feeling that you cannot un-feel. Because poetry that’s already been written can never be un-written. It’s already out there and the damage is done. Like an unplanned pregnancy. Like an unwanted child.
And I feel so old, so old…