This post is part of the Secret Messages Project. Every day for thirty days, I’ll leave my words in places where they might be found — or might never be found at all. I hope you’ll join me.
It’s been awhile since I shared anything here that approached what some people call by the name “poetry.”
A word about what we talk about when we talk about poetry: What I do? It isn’t that.
Because I do most of my writing longhand in a journal with narrow pages, I occasionally break lines and force words into a vertical form. Sometimes, the form is so vertical that what I share here looks like poetry. But I’m fortunate enough to know a few *real* poets, ones with serious literary gifts, and what they do is a very different animal altogether. This is why I often call my skinny little creations “almost-poetry.”
I’m a prose writer by nature — always will be. That said, attempting something a little bit *like* poetry is good for me — it keeps me linguistically limber and challenges me to remember that the way words look on a page can bear just as much weight as which words I’m using.
That’s why, yesterday, I decided to tinker again at this thing I call “almost-poetry.”
I took some of my favorite parchment paper and cut it into narrow strips. Then I taped all the strips together to make a paper ribbon:
Then I wrote a little almost-poem, one about what I’m trying to accomplish here.
I rolled the ribbon up like a tiny scroll.
I tied the scroll with braided twine.
I tucked it in my pocket, drove downtown, and walked past the art museum to the place where the sidewalk disappears into a tunnel beneath Williamson Road.
There’s a mural there — In It For the Long Run by Scott “Toobz” Noel — spray-painted on the concrete, in moody whorls of galloping horses and windblown color that make me feel I’m galloping, too:
I left my almost-poem there, for you and for me and for anyone and for no one. This is what it said:
In so many ways,
the paint on
the canvas, and
I rub the
I swear —
Let me bless
with the kiss
of my thumbs —
Oh, my love —
I’m just trying
to teach you
to see in
Whether we’re masters or beginners today, let’s all try to see and make as much beauty as we can, even — and especially — in the dark. ❤