Krisanne asked me the other day why I find poetry more appealing than prose. It was such a simple question, but if forced me to articulate something that has been percolating for some time, but which I don't think I've consciously explored before. And that is this... In my opinion (feel free to debate this if you'd like but nicely because I'm a wimp), prose is about presenting an experience and describing it fully. Using as many words as it takes to draw the picture, making sure that it's beautifully laid out and understood. But poetry is about the complexity and the nuances of one word. Poetry is the efficiency of language, compact and dense, like bones.
Then you take all the density and you apply it to the pursuit of communicating emotion and experience and something very cool happens. One word becomes a universe. A conversation. I put it on paper and breathe some context into it and then you read it and breathe your own context into it and we're talking. I'm not just telling a story like prose. I'm singing. It's jazz. It's call and response. I'm saying something and you're saying something and we say it through one word. A friend once told me that he prays that way. One word conversations with God. And I realized that that is the essence of poetry for me.
So then I thought if I was going to write a poem with God, what would that look like...
Writing A Poem With God
NB: I want to write a poem, maybe about the meaning of my life.
G: ok. That sounds good. Start throwing out words and we'll see what sticks.
G: too subjective. try purpose.
NB: nope. sounds too much like porpoise. You know me...can't do it. Destiny?
G: Hmmm...has the word tiny in it. Takes away. You're more than that. Breathe.
NB: Yes! like inspiration.
NB: I already said yes. You want more breathing?
G: Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Say it 500 times, it starts to sound funny.
NB: breathe. yes. I still like it. It's life.
NB: uh huh. life.
NB: You made me that way. It's not my fault!
G: blame. lame. flame.
NB: Rhyming is really tired, God. We're not using that in our poem, OK?
G: I know. I know. You think I'm sooooo conventional. Try this. Restless. Sleep. Anchored. I am awake.
NB: I think it's been done. But what about trust?
G: heart wide
NB: heart ache
G: but not heart attack
NB: Right. With. God.
G: back to that whole breathing thing again? Already?
NB: this time your breath, not mine. Not Mine.
G: what about peace? You want that one?
G: always, that's easy. You got it.
NB: This is getting good. But it seems redundant.
G: Really? Overdone? But I thought you needed it again and again and again?
NB: I will take it. You give it. I will take it. You give it. I will take it. You give it. I will take it.
G: You give it. I will take it. You give it. I will take it. You give it. I will take it. You give it.
NB: Are we done here?
G: Are we?