I have no business writing poetry.
I am a corporate executive whose days are filled with calculus and quantifications, trading and transactions. Truth is, I had always been drawn to artistic endeavors, but the harsh realities of grown-up life herded me into more practical enterprise, eventually revealing gifts in business administration that I never knew existed.
Business can be creative, too. The process of developing something from nothing, envisioning growth and expansion, putting a group of complex variables into a pot and stirring them up to see what comes out the other side – it can be rewarding.
But, for me, it has never been enough.
I have a playlist on my ipod called, “Songs That Kill Me.” It’s a little bit of Kathleen Edwards and Damien Rice and Kate Bush and Ani DiFranco, artists who have this uncanny ability to package up the accumulated detritus of their inner lives – the suffering and chaos and hopefulness – into a perfectly haunting blend of words and instrumentation.
This music routinely chokes me or shakes me or brings me to my knees in a heap, leaving me with a desperate longing for, well, I don’t know what—other than an aching recognition of truth and beauty that exists far beyond the routine inputs and outputs of my business life. It compels me to reach for something more.
I listen to those songs, and they go miles and miles beneath the surface, latching their thick, layered, sticky hooks into the rich soil of unexplored terrain, claiming new territory, staking their flags. Perhaps this is the mapping of my soul.
So I hold up a mirror – something to reflect back my own version of that which I cannot name.
Nature must have her way, and this urgent necessity for artistic expression refuses to remain bottled up. I started writing. Lyrics first, when I was young. Then prose, and now, poetry. I never expected it be all that good, or perfect, or marketable.
It just is.
It’s just me.
The words I write have become a sort of marker for the landscape of my psyche; a tag to locate a piece of myself at some invisible subterranean level, so that I’ll know how to find my way back if ever I am lost.
And who knows? Like those songs on my playlist, maybe they can become a marker for someone else’s soul, too.
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