New Restaurant Poem

Is there an emotion conducive to your writing?  There’s an animated short from 2007 called “The Danish Poet”, and in it one of the characters writes best when he’s happy.  I wondered for a while if that was how I was, but now I don’t think so.  Looking back, I’ve written pieces I’m very proud of during times of sadness.  I think the factor that influences the writing is the intensity of the emotion I feel.  If I feel strongly about something, the words come much easier.

Some of my best writing has occurred in places I don’t spend a lot of time.  Occasionally, I go to a restaurant and scribble notes while I eat.  Around 2pm yesterday, I picked a Chinese buffet.  There was hardly anyone there and my waiter spoke very softly.  It was like I was in a library.  I could faintly hear Chinese pop music like someone at the record listening station had taken his headphones off and turned them up.  Something about that sound reminded me of something I love, so I wrote a poem about it.  I hate to be vague, but I don’t want to say what it was until you read the poem I wrote . . . and then I still probably won’t tell you.  I like to see what people think about my work without me telling them what it was I meant to say.  I’m like the preschool teacher that tells the kids to finger paint a gorilla.  I get some pretty messed-up-looking pictures and I say, “Good Job!  You did so well!”

They ask me if
I’ve seen her before
Do I know her face?
Do I know
How she hides at night
And how frightening it is
To be near her
In those hours
After the sun is down?

You can hear
Her voice at night
It’s as loud
As if she were
Standing next to you
But she’s hidden in the distance
She is everywhere at once
After the sun is down

Keep your distance at night
She’ll fascinate you
She’ll mesmerize you
She’ll draw you in
And you won’t know
Until it’s too late
That she’s captured you
Her pleasant darkness
Will swallow you up
And you’ll be hers forever

So I say yes
I know her
I’ve sang with her
After the sun was down
Staring off into a distance
Only imagining she was
Looking back
I never know
Until the morning
Dances across her face
And even then
I’m not safe. 

A friend of mine recently told me how she was puzzled that a person like me who fears rejection can actually want to be open and vulnerable to others through writing and performing.  I’d never thought of that before, but it’s true.  I guess I’ll just try and share my work with as many people as possible, because the more people there are reading/listening, the greater chance that not everyone will hate it.  But to reassure myself, I’ll always remember the quote from the wiseman:

             Haters gonna hate.




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