Writing is a creative process and every writer works in their own unique way. Today, I take you through my process of creating poetry that resulted in the poem I had published earlier this year.
I had a topic: I knew I wanted to write something about the impact of drugs on siblings. I decided to play around with the idea of playful creation, the idea of rhizomes. You can read more about rhizomes in writing in my previous post Rhizomes.
I began with this word ‘rhizome’ and wrote down as many ideas as I could from this:
Rhizome writing, random, connected. Reading, seeding, sporing ideas.
Writer and reader, at once the same, strange brained like a body inhabited.
Parasitical, life giving, death taker, super spreader.
Illuminating, access all areas, nothing denied.
Fragment upon fragment, creatively culminating, leading nowhere, everywhere.
Bramble pathed, find a rabbit trail to be lost again in forest.
Paths to be created. A path-blazer, trail raiser.
Paths to follow. To be lead, mapless, blind.
To rise over the crest and there to discover a thing of beauty.
I decided to do a similar thing with the word ‘sister’:
A sister to share your soul with
A sister to walk with you
A sister to guide you on your way
Holder of wisdom you are yet to attain
Sharer of secrets
Stealer of clothes
Thinking about relationships and the concern we show for others, I played with the idea of ‘worry’:
She worried about things.
About things that worried her.
Piercing things, spidered, consuming, tornado-ed.
She worried troublesome things.
Happy things, still and contented.
Tossed around, lost and sinister.
I really liked this sense of play and freedom that came from creating poetry in this way and so kept this up, now introducing the concept of family and siblings:
We were forest family-ed
My broken sister and I.
She junky hearted
while I was learning numbers.
Open sleeper came fast learner,
Brick walled against her darkened car.
Using some of the phrases I discovered above, I threw myself, stream-of-consciousness style, headlong into the content of my poem:
My sister twister whore I followed where she lead. I took my lead from her. Hand in hand down the bramble path. Her hands destroyed, toyed, deployed. She toppled my soul. And our blood mixed with the earth, with each other, with others. But she hated her blood. Anger boiling over like pus from an open wound. And I hated her. That girl in a twirl who danced around me and kept me safe. Like stars that twinkle and hold back the dark. Like elephants whose memory is as deep as their wrinkles, she lead me trunk to tail. And I lost her on that broken trail. No way to find the thread that kept her safe. She was astronaut adrift, freefalling through space. Spaced out and junked up. And I lost her there.
There was some good stuff here, it felt raw and immediate. It captured the intensity of emotion that I was looking for, of pain, connection, sadness and acceptance. I decided to rework and refine what I had.
This finally culminated in the poem I had published in Perceptions: Magazine of the Arts:
My sister with her poisonous veins and venom tongue
Sister twister, bloody whore; I followed where she led.
I took my lead from her, hand-in-hand down bramble path.
Her hands destroyed, toyed, deployed. She toppled my soul.
Our blood mixed with the earth, with each other, with others –
She hated her blood. Anger boiling over like pus from an open wound;
And I hated her. That girl-in-a-twirl who danced around me and kept me safe.
Like stars that twinkle and hold back the dark;
Like elephants whose memories are deep as their wrinkles, she led me trunk-to-tail.
I lost her on that broken trail. No way to find the thread that kept her safe;
She was astronaut-adrift, freefalling through space.
Spaced out, junked up. And I lost her there.
Finally, Happy New Year and please drop by my Writing and Editing Services webstie: A Worded Life to read the blog there too!
Photo credit: Friends