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once upon a time I was a poet

It was a label I could identify with throughout my teens and early twenties. I can remember walking home from school as a seventh or eighth grader writing poems in my head the whole way home. Some of them would come to me at the edges of sleep, some in dreams.

I penned poems in the margins of my notebooks in high school. I set up my email address, amyisapoet@*******.com. I wanted the whole world, or the immediate Springfield community to know that I ate, slept and breathed poetry. The best part of getting a car at sixteen was the personalized license plates, POETS 4.  Fourteen years later I still drive around in a car with license plates that label me  poet. I’m kind of too lazy to change them.

When I was eighteen I rebelled against something, though I’m not sure what, and got a tattoo that says poet in Japanese. I googled it again while writing this blog just to make sure that’s really want the foreign characters on my back say. Google concurs.  From that point on I was forever branded poet. One of the English teachers at my high school made up a saying something like this, ‘Amy, Amy she is a poet and you know it cause her tattoo shows it.’  That still makes me giggle just a little.

Some of my favorite poetry writing memories took place on my college campus. For some reason I’ve never required very much sleep. I would get up extra early and sit on the cold stone bench outside of Corbin Hall and write while the sun came up. I liked the quiet, the solitude. Speaking of college, I really miss the idea of creative writing classes. I had an amazing professor at Western Illinois University, but for the life of me I can’t remember her name. I despise my bad memory. I think my second daughter ate parts of my memory in utero. She also sucked up all of my organizational skills. That’s why I can’t ever find my glasses, or my keys, or…

At some point in time I lost the part of myself that  considered herself a poet. The words which used to flow so freely dried up. I hypothesize that I lost my ability to write good poetry around the time I forgot how to cry. I do cry sometimes, but I resent myself for it. I used to find comfort in tears, believing that they washed away the pain and anger. Time brings both joy and sorrow. When sorrow came to visit so did bitterness. That bitterness is a sneaky one as it has refused to completely vacate the premises.

Every now and then I feel the need to revisit the poems of my past. Reading them sends tiny sparks of creativity flowing through my veins. I can almost feel the indescribable tingle in my fingers, the need to feel the weight of a pen in my hand and the blank page of a journal in front of me. I keep buying pretty little journals to carry around in my purse, but I have a tendency to lose them. Poetry doesn’t feel right when I try to compose it on a computer. It’s definitely a paper pen craft for me.

I haven’t given up hope of finding the poet within myself again. I’ll show you why…

this poem is dateless…written sometime in 2004

poems              

compose themselves,

using my mind

as scratch paper.

Some of them

move on-

They run away

Before transposing their lives

To the outside world with my pen

By Amy Jean

The memory of poems composing themselves in mind is still fresh.

One day I will find the poet within me. I have a tattoo that says so.

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