Bleeding Words- an ode to my fellow poets

Poetry has saved my life more than once. It has pulled me from the depths of depression and grief. It is a quilt of memories and pride warming me on a cold day. Most days, I know that I was meant to write poetry and even if it was never published that it is an essential part of my being.


The following piece was inspired by a poem from Haitian poet Oswald Durand(pictured above); more specifically the quote at the beginning of his poem “The Street Singer.” The quote made me reexamine my feelings about myself as a poet and people’s expectations of free poetry. I was going to make a meme about it but I decided to include a few lines instead.

Oswald Durand was born in Cap-Haïtien, Haiti in 1840. He was largely self educated and a teacher, newspaperman, and  Congressman. He is considered the preeminent poet of Haiti and I can’t wait to learn more about him. One of the things that I wanted to pursue during my PhD is poets from Caribbean. I don’t know how or if that will happen. So I’ve committed to learning about them outside of the confines of a course.


“Since this is your job, miserable poet” (A. de Musset)

Write these images

As if they are as

Essential as your next breath

Paint lyrics

So evocative that they are burned

Into retinas, ear canals and brains

Write on miserable, lonely poet

It’s your job to

Tell these tales

You know that

People love your writing

When it’s free

They like its beauty

And its appearance in journals

But don’t acknowledge its value

Don’t see the restorative effects

Or the healing and soothing properties

Those same people think that you chose to be a poet

They don’t understand that it’s

in your blood

Burrowed deep

Into your skin, fat, muscle, bones and organs

That you were born to

Bleed symbolism onto pages,

fill sheets with tears, and

Exorcise demons with your words

See, miserable poet

What you know

Is that poetry is the human experience

It’s our existence lain bare like

Bones bleached by the sun

The beating heart and soul of life

You never stood a chance

Poetry was born in you

It was your first breath


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