the poetry journal

This week, I found a bunch of old poems I wrote during high school.
It always makes me sad to look at those notebooks because for a minute there, I was this cocksure little punkass — starting around the acid incident, leading into the ecstasy incident, peaking somewhere during the friendship with Kat, then plummetting when I met J. It raises a distressing issue for me. In the past, my creativity was wrapped up in drugs and sex, and when I got into that relationship, I let it all go.
I had once written that using was like being in a bad relationship, but then I went and actually gave up drugs for a bad relationship. Why’d I do that? Well, at least now I can vouch for my own words. They really are quite similar, except that one destroyed my writing and the other didn’t. And that’s where I have trouble — the belief that he destroyed my writing — that because I gave up so much for him, I can never get it back.
I had created … I had been given a sanctuary in which to flourish. In my parents’ house, I had the run of the entire second story, and I transformed it into a temple of my own creativity. As a little kid, I’d thought of becoming a nun, but by 16, I’d discovered the myth of the sacred whore, and I became a different kind of nun — one who celebrated the body electric. I immersed myself in poetry and lust — for life, for art, for bodies, for language. I truly believed in ecstasy — not the drug but the state of being.
It was a small, predictable and very costly failure when I, like a completely average teenage girl, left all that behind for the approval of an older man — just some guy — an imbecil with a penis. This is why I’m a feminist now: If there is some other girl who has cultivated this incredible artistic existence for herself, I want her to know her own sovereignty. I’m talking about the power of self-validation.
It’s true that I will always write — I can’t not write — but if I knew then what I know how, I would have become a very different kind of writer.

against martyrdom
the human validation system

3 thoughts on “the poetry journal

  1. “if I knew then what I know how, I would have become a very different kind of writer” You would be a different person. Who knows what you’d be today?

    And what happened to that immersion in lust? Where/what/how is it now?

  2. Thanks, John!
    Ellie, Yeah, I often wonder what kind of person I’d be if I’d taken a different path. I can’t say I’d want to be anyone other than the person I am today, however, I can’t help wondering and also hoping someone can learn from what I went through instead of going through it themselves.

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