Naked Poetry

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Personas, personalities, ideas, opinions, the superficial, the disposable, the attention seeking, all things sourced and shaped by external forces and dominant narratives; these are the things the poems below are wrestling with.

I have felt the surge within that compels me to desire visibility, recognition, and which leads me to question my truth and become more like others. The online world is tribal and groups and subgroups are defined by dogmatic belief systems that shun those who won’t conform to every single one of their norms. I have always been a surfer of groups, even at school I would drift, feeling like I belonged to all and yet none at the same time. I imagine this very well could be most people’s experience.

The most valuable thing we all have is our truth, our unique spirit; our authenticity. No one else has, can or will ever be able to interpret the music of this life in quite the way we can and as far as I know we only have one chance at dancing this dance. Individuality is our one true gift.

 

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate YOU. Keep the channel open.”

Dancer Martha Graham via the wonderfully wise Esther Emery

 

Sometimes the value a group places on you can be a burden as much as anything; it makes you see yourself through others eyes and lose touch with the center of your power and truth. As I grow older I find external demands and forces can’t imprint their energy upon me as they used to. I can hold my own and stand true.

Real value lies deep down where true awareness dwells, beneath the transitory thrill of acceptance, “success” or even becoming accomplished in any one field. Real value is buried like a root beneath the earth. It is in the purity of intention, our individual truth.

As an artist I am constantly tempted by outside forces to create from a place of fear, or financial need rather than a place of integrity and love. Every so often I have to step away from what I am doing, reevaluate and return to the source; to the child within that needs to heal through healing; the child within that needs to be mask-less and true.

If we could all meet one another with such simplicity, perhaps the world would be a less confusing place.

 

A Ritual to Read to Each Other

William E. Stafford

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the
           world
and following the wrong god home we may miss
           our star.
For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of
          childhood
storming out to play through the broken dike.
And as elephants parade holding each
          elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the
          park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.
And so I appeal to a voice, to something
         shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should
         consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the
dark.
For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to
          sleep;
the signals we give — yes or no, or maybe —
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
*

At First She Came to Me Pure
Juan Ramón Jiménez

At first she came to me pure,
dressed only in her innocence;
and I loved her as we love a child.

Then she began putting on
clothes she picked up somewhere;
and I hated her, without knowing it.

She gradually became a queen,
the jewelry was blinding…
What bitterness and rage!

…She started going back toward nakedness.
And I smiled.

Soon she was back to the single shift
of her old innocence.
I believed in her a second time.

Then she took off the cloth
and was entirely naked…
Naked poetry, always mine,
that I have loved my whole life!


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