I have a noticeable Southern accent, even to those who are more Southern than myself. It gets worse when I'm nervous, which it did tonight; legit, I almost vacated the premise and my bowels at the same damn time.
I've been writing poetry since I was maybe 8 or 9 years old. I wrote about school, and boys, and stress and love and hate and bitterness and love and road trips and vacations and love... I read at the most wonderful, welcoming place, a bookstore/African culture hub called Under One Roof, for the first time when I was maybe 11 or 12. And it was love for the performing aspect of the art ever since.
But then somewhere along there, life starting becoming more tangible, more real. And one day I woke up and was not a poet anymore. Instead I was a young woman working through this life thing and didn't have time nor patience to work through iambic pentameter and alliteration. Instead I picked up a journal, choosing instead to write my thoughts in these books never to be released or read by another person until I had my own daughter one day who thought her mother didn't understand what she was going though; then and only then would I want those books read.
Occasionally I would foray back into poetry for a brief stint, expressing my boredom with my lackluster love life, or poems written with the ink of tears from some pain I hadn't wanted to explore. And then I got my heartbroken and you couldn't keep a damn pen out of my hand, but yet I still never read again.
Tonight I read an untitled love poem to Tarzan, and to myself, in front of at least a good 15 people. I followed up a pair of Jesus poets with seemingly more swagger than actual substance but were still type dope in their lane. I brought my Mom, as I used to back in those early days, and she (as she used to) clapped and whooped the loudest before I even said a word.
I was introduced and said a sweet, country "Hey ya'll" and explained I hadn't spoken in awhile and that I was once a pretty good poet to which the MC Paul replied "Are!" So I said, "Okay, I guess I are a poet." I smiled, took a deep breath, and it was like I'd never left my hobby, my skill, behind. It was as if I'd placed my pen down between writing lines one day and had just picked it back up with new fervor.
I forget sometimes, in this life of being a worker for my employer, a girlfriend to my boyfriend, a best friend to my best friends and a daughter to my parents that I have to be a person. A whole, individualized, unique person with her own passions, fears and wants not attached to anybody else. I'd forgotten that, forgotten to release the poet in me, allow her to be who she wants to be.
She's like a friend, my inner poet, who went a long time without speaking to me, and now that we've caught up, I can't imagine why we stopped talking. Don't get me wrong, I'm no slam poet, I'm not the type of poet who remembers every poem they've ever written and can recite them on site, but I am still a poet. I am still a poet. I am still.
Sometimes I have to be reminded that I am still here, still breathing, still thinking and believing and still just being. I still am. Or in Paul's case, I still are.