A Keeping It Real Post
Baggage (v. 2)
Heaving my suitcase onto the bed
I drop it on the floor instead,
Oops, I forgot it’s full of laments for my dead.
Why did I pack the weight of grief and fear
when all I want to do is be light and clear?
Running away and starting over is my plan
So why did I decide to bring along a dead man?
I silently berate myself, forcing tears away
Someday I’ll acknowledge what it took to make it to this day.
But for now, unzipping my bag, I dump the contents on the floor
I’m done with this.
I refuse to carry deadweight with me anymore.
Excerpt from Perspective to Pen
Going Outside The Box
In the years since D died, I’ve learned to face my fears head-on. I’ve done lots of things that have pushed me so far outside my comfortable little box they set that box on fire, ensuring I could never go back.
As uncomfortable as those things can sometimes be, I’ve learned to embrace the challenges and lessons they provide. And boy, do they provide!
Don’t Be An Invisible Poet
I met Christine Murray on a bus from Dublin to Belfast after our train had broken down. We started chatting about poetry, life as women, and our stories. I confessed to the accomplished poet that I’d started writing poetry as part of my grief journey. Christine is active in the movement to help Irish Women Poets reclaim their place in history. One of the last things she said to me before we parted ways that day, was “don’t be a secret poet.”
Say what? Only one other person knew I was writing at the time. I liked being invisible and a secret poet. But, I realized it wasn’t too different from sharing my grief journey with the world. It took a while, but I eventually started posting my poetry on Instagram, under a pseudonym. Christine was the first person to publish my poetry in Poethead.
The Poetry Community
Then, Robert Cozzi invited me to participate in a poetry collaboration. Dudes! Like Christine Murray, Robert is a legit award-winning poet with five published collections of poetry. And he chose invisible me to be part of this project! Much like the tribe I found with my fellow Widows, I discovered a supportive and encouraging family within the poetry community.
He assembled twelve poets from four countries who came together to create an anthology. Our initial vision was to show how human experiences are so closely connected, despite living such different lives. Perspective to Pen was born from that initial meeting and has taken on a life of its own. (All proceeds support Amnesty International.)
As part of this project, I decided to take back my name and now write loud and proud as myself. (You can read about that experience here.)
Yesterday was the official release of the anthology. As I look back, I marvel at the way the universe works. What if my train to Belfast hadn’t broken down? Or if Christine hadn’t been interested in a conversation? Or if I hadn’t listened to her advice? I’d still be an invisible poet.
I’m sure my spirit guides tear their hair out at what a slow and stubborn learner I can be, but I’ve finally embraced the fact that doing the scary thing is always worth it.
Live Now. Dream Big. Love Fierce.
If you’re in to poetry, I post my work on Instagram as @LisaBainWrites.