I want the blackness of the early morning before the sun rises to fill me up.
I want the thoughts to stop
The pain to cease
The anger to no longer push through my veins
I want the blackness to wash over me
seep inside me
quench the fire of the words
of the hate
of the sound of revenge
I breathe, deep into my soul my lungs expanding
my ribs opening, stretching
my back pushing into the pillow
I want the black quiet of the early morning night
to cleanse me
fill me with
stillness so there is no room
for the searing heat
burning through my days
I want your words to
swirl from the blackness
in a whisper
filling my ears so no others will fit
in the tiny holes
on the side of my head
I want your words to be mine
in the black morning
when the cars have paused
with only the guy delivering milk
clinking in the black morning
I’m learning to meditate with a process called Passage Meditation developed by Eknath Easwaran. It is prayerful and a powerful path to calmness that incorporates the words of mystics from many religions across the ages into daily meditation.
This week at Wednesday Afternoon Writers, Jovan Mays visited. He asked me if anyone was bringing the prompt. No one had offered, so I told him to go for it. Good decision.
Jovan Mays is a national slam poet champion who happens to live in my town, Aurora, Colorado. I met him several years ago when he presented his work and process during my fellowship with the Denver Writing Project at the University of Colorado, Denver.
A few weeks ago our paths crossed again at our local coffee shop where my weekly writing group meets. We invited him to join us. He wrote with us, shared some of his poetry, and promised to return. Jovan showed up this week with an entire workshop for us humble WAW writers.
Wednesday Afternoon Writers does not follow the traditional writing group formula. Our focus is to come together and write, then share. We don’t edit or critique works in progress. We enjoy each other’s company and have seen surprising growth. WAW lends credence to the saying “just write” if you want to grow up to be a writer.
But, as in all things, we can get too comfortable, stale. And Jovan Mays shook us up. What a powerful shaking it was.
We started by combining two words to form a new one and wrote a quick poem using the new word. We did this twice. We are used to writing for thirty minute stretches and mostly prose. Jovan’s quick write pushed us into that land of awkwardness. It’s a good thing.
He then shared two poems by two other slam poets. A open prayer for the soul of Ken Buck by Ken Arkind and A Working List of Things I will Never Tell You by Jon Sands were strong mentor pieces for us.
After a discussion, Jovan asked us to use the poem and/or the form of our choice – an open prayer or a list of things I would never tell – as a mentor piece and write a poem ourselves.
Challenge is a good thing. Stepping out of our comfort zone leads to discovery. One must feel safe and supported when doing this kind of work. I am pleased to say that the trust we built among ourselves over the past few years in WAW and the genuine heart and talent of Jovan Mays allowed us to share and, for some, to bare their souls.
This is what writing is all about.