For the Love of Words

The older I get, the more the lines between poetry and prose start to blur.

I like poems that read like prose, free verse, no rules. And I like prose that flows, each word shifting smoothly into the next. It’s my heart beat. On lunch break you’ll often find me alone, scribbling in a notebook. My days of socializing were for her, but now that she’s gone, I keep my own company as I did before we met.

The words are different now, rising from a different place. Echoing a soft love and sadness, neither of which are for anyone or anything. Like me, they keep to themselves. Love and pain without an audience, without a reason. Free.

They move like blue notes from a tenor sax singing solo in an empty auditorium. Writing for the sake of writing; feeling just to feel.

In some ways, you know me better than the ones I love the most, because most of them don’t read me. I don’t hide myself from them—they just talk a lot and I live to listen. When you’re cast as the Listener in someone’s life, going on monologues is out of character. I’m guessing that’s one of the reasons we all started writing to begin with.

All these things we’re never given time to say we can spill into the page. Three decades later… well, it’s personality now. I talk less than when I was 22. When I’m 42, I’ll probably talk even less than I do at 32. Much like my grandfather who looked a lot like me.

But laughing, I can do that all day long without reservation. I’m not a big fan of my laugh, but it’s real. It bursts out of me and strikes against every solid surface in a five mile radius. Easy laughter at the most mundane things. A turn of phrase, a curious look, sometimes just the way sunlight falls on cheap lenolium.

I don’t laugh as much these days—she was my comedian. But I’m learning that—if we want to be free—we have to make our own fun; we can’t rely on someone else to make us smile.

These words are fun for me, they’re my silent joy. Always there, always a scribble away. Ready to sway and weave, ebbing and flowing against each other. Who needs nibbana?

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