Rainer Maria Rilke has a line in Letters to a Young Poet where he says you have to ask yourself, must I write?
Yes. But I woke up every day for a long time wishing I wanted to be an engineer. Wishing that I looked at formulas and problem-solving with the same love and vision I see in language.
This blog has me falling in love with writing all over again. It’s my warm, safe place now, and damn, it feels good.
Here are a few other things I must do:
I must write poetry (I’ve got a poem forthcoming in the Winter issue of Sky Island Journal.) Poetry teaches me how to live in this world. It comes most naturally to me. Reading poetry, especially American poets, uncovered my passion for life, when I thought it had gone forever. Just ask Walt Whitman via Robin Williams:
“Music is at once the most wonderful, the most alive of all the arts— it is the most abstract, the most perfect, the most pure—and the most sensual. I listen with my body and it is my body that aches in response to the passion and pathos embodied in this music.”
I must sing. When the power of language meets the power of music, it creates something else.
And I must dance. I’m never more present in my body than I am when I dance. It breaks up what’s locked inside of me, and I don’t give a damn how I look.
I’m going out dancing tonight, baby.
Here’s a poem I wrote after dancing for an hour all over my apartment. I’ve never worked with this form before, but my heart was still pumping when I sat down to write in my journal, and this came out.
I danced this evening. Let my hair down. Shook freedom from rhythm and swallowed it whole. I used my whole body. I am the snake who brings trance. I am the compass sensing direction. I have maracas for hips. Jungle cat hair. Shark’s teeth. My arms rushing rivers, air bubble fingers. Guitar string legs, warm thrumming. Hummingbird winged-ass vibrating. My apartment floor sliding and plucking and making me sing. My chest a heart-fueled starship taking off into outer space.