Hello readers, in today’s post I am starting a little series where I “annotate”/explain the stories and meanings behind some of the poems in my collections. I am starting with my first collection Essence of An Age. I have picked out some of my favorite poems to talk about. I am not sure how interested those who read my poetry will be in this, but regardless, I think it will be fun to do. Imagine this is like the Genius lyrics site except its for my poems and I’m writing all the neat information.
I would recommend picking up my collection before reading this so you can perceive the poems for yourself before knowing exactly what the author (that’s me) was thinking and feeling as she (I) wrote them.
You can find the Essence of An Age on Amazon today.
I published this first collection of mine in September of 2018 (It is almost two years old!!) but have been finding lately, that these poems I wrote at 17 and published at 18 are still very relevant to my life now. I wrote a lot about growing up and the bittersweetness of it. I like to write about summer, how fleeting life feels, the people in my life, rain, sunsets, and much more.
I hope you enjoy this little series of behind the scenes 🙂
Prologue is a poem about the “beginning of the end” when one as an adolescent realizes this chapter of their life is coming to a bittersweet close and a new one is beginning and they feel hardly equipped to move on.
I first felt myself on the cusp of exodus
when monsters beneath my bed
became a matter minuscule to monsters in my head,
prowling atop a back-burner of my mind,
at 3 a.m. in a kitchen glowing dim.
Here is where I began to acknowledge that the loss of innocence began when I was no longer afraid of “monsters under the bed” as little children might be but was rather more afraid of my own thoughts, and being awake in the middle of the night with anxiety and worry.
I felt it when I saw my chest as a cello,
with too small of a sound for anyone to find profound.
When my body became not just a sack of dust,
but a vessel for lust’s progressive masterpiece,
a mechanism for man’s speech.
This loss of innocence continued in realizing how sexualized my body is by the world, culture, etc. against my will.
Felt it when my world was an expanding balloon
on the edge of a pinprick,
when sugared summers sprinkled in sadness
were simmered in blood so…thick.
I have often felt innocence feels like summer, meaning that I often feel like it is fleeting but returns time and time again. Here it feels like a balloon about to be popped. The moment of a balloon being popped unexpectedly can be startling. This shows the dread-like anticipation of growing up.
I felt it when sunburns were licks of fire,
kisses of subtle wrath of untethered desire,
inflicted by desperation’s ambition.
Felt when I tried to chase him into a storm
and unfold him like a paper plane,
to smooth out the wrinkles,
to find it all a deed done in vain.
Here, I describe how suddenly boys and relationships are different than what they were as a child. “Chasing him into a storm” is the pursuit of a girl after a boy who does not want her. The paper plane, in a storm, would be destroyed and she discovers that the boy she wanted was going to be like a destroyed thing with her.
I felt it when the sky gasped
and turned to boiling soup,
when home became my friends,
and empty shopping carts,
bustling minds of dreams
strung out on laundry lines.
In this time, and now, still, I find solace in the transformation of the sky at sunset, my friends, goofing off with shopping carts, dreaming of possibilities in the future, and “laundry lines” as a visual of home which gets further explained in other poems but may seem random and out of place here.
I felt it when the taste of trust grew faded,
but still, I reached down the hallways
of her mind to find her hand,
to hold it in the dark that made us blind,
to whisper of a promised land.
Suddenly long-term friendships aren’t the same and I can’t easily trust everyone I love but I seek to have that trust and innocence back.
When the exodus began,
I knew it as only the title page not yet open,
my spine not yet broken,
a youth not yet shaken.
Now I see it as a parted sea
between miles of painkiller smiles
and masked dignity.
Here, I talk about the beginning of this exodus not being as bad as I thought it would be. I saw it as a far off event but now that it is right before me, I see how facades and personas are carried forward into this chapter of life. I stifle her childhood in order to “grow up.”
The motifs of “exodus” and “promise land” and “parted sea” reference the Biblical story of the Exodus and I compare growing up as being stuck between two places that are not pleasant or desired but knowing that moving on might her bring to something true and good.
Thus begins the end of my lemonade years,
the exodus of innocence tied to sugar,
where my violent delights meet their violent ends.
thus my prologue here begins.
Here, I reference William Shakespeare’s writing in Romeo and Juliet. “Violence” is a motif I use in many of my poems, especially paired with Shakespearean references and in my second collection. I refer to violence as not a blatant, obvious thing but something that is subtle, gradual, intentional, and very destructive.
I hope you enjoyed this little behind the scenes of my poem Prologue. I hope to make more posts like these. Until next time,