“I write for a living,
as in, I live a little every time I write.”
I have lived with fading keyboards and papers, blank canvases and brushes, a mind full of thoughts, heart full of questions, and a lump in the throat for as long as I could remember. Since I was little, I questioned. Perhaps because I lost.
I didn’t take poetry seriously until I had to. i.e., when I lost my mother. You see, I was raised by a mother who loved reading. I would spend all my days at her office. The library to be specific where I would read a book in a day. When I’m not reading, I am on a typewriter which nobody used. I would write about everything and don’t even look back. My mother, being my number one support system would collect and keep my writings for me. I write, she reads and keeps. The protector of my passion that was yet to be born.
Fast forward, it’s now been a year since I lost my mother. I haven’t written anything. I would recite a poem and each come would out hoarse from having lived too long in my heart. In fact, I started studying Construction Management and Technology, running as far away as possible from ever loving something. It wasn’t until one night, I dreamt of my mother for the first time since her passing.
In my dream, my mom sat in what looked like a cave. She looked cold. Since my mother was a true form of an angel in human flesh, I somehow expected I would meet her out on a greenfield all in white. You know, like in the movies and all the books I have read. But no, she was in a cave. And the conversation went like this.
Me: Mom, does it hurt, you know…dying?
Mom: No, it doesn’t
Mom: Read me something you wrote
Me: I haven’t written anything in quite some time
She looks even sadder.
Mom: You should read me something next time.
And I woke up, in a warm bed, alone. And I wrote a poem about it years later. Saying,
“Daughter, read me your latest piece”
My mother said
“You know they say you are as good as your last work” she added
Then I smiled
Thinking of the last thing I wrote
Her Pain; Her Pen
After having dreamt of my mother, I spent the years after that writing and writing nonstop. I felt a lot. And all of it went to my paper or anything I could find blank. I used a lot of metaphors and wrote in a third person so my family wouldn’t know the poems aren’t necessarily about me. There is a lot of pain. Lots of questions. Lots of confessions. Lots of goodbyes and I’m sorrys. Many asked, “Why do you write?” …and I went on and wrote a poem about it.
“Why do you write?”
Is the equivalence of “Are you okay?”
That’s why my fingers stutter all over my keyboard
I wrote for years. When I couldn’t write I painted. My paintings weren’t worth a thousand words. In fact, they were silent. Too silent. Paintbrushes helped me brush out all the thoughts crowding my mind. And so I painted. But I always wrote. With or without words. I never got the chance to read any of my writings for my mother. But at least I wrote.
Her healing; Her Pen
11 years after. I am now a poet. In the way, I live. Have you ever met a happy poet? Like a really happy poet. Yeah, that’s me now. Over the years, I have felt all the sadness that I needed to feel until I fell in love. And I stopped writing. Because my pen has always been driven by my pain. My pen only lived a paper at a time. It did not know of the future. And now it writes, of pain but in the past tense.
Here is another article that explores the benefits of poetry.
About The Author
Kalkidan Getnet is a poet and an aspiring concept/Minimal artist. She runs a poetry blog titled “Everted” with the theme “Poetic Disruption through Bold and Uncensored Self-expression”. Her poems explore various emotional states which fall mainly in grief, depression, and solitude, collected from her own experience and mere observations.