I didn't know about Mary Oliver, and people like her who took their raw aliveness and put it into beautiful words that normal humans knew and could relate to. What I learned in high school was that poetry was all about rules, meter and rhyme.
Before it got to me, I wrote this:
Loneliness to loneliness
And though we mask ourselves in words or silence
Our needs speak out in all we do
And speak to those alike.
I am speaking to you.
I was a stranger in a strange land, hyper-aware and sensitive in a place that didn't have a place for it. I never fit. My mother had taught me about awareness, but hid her own in alcohol and superficial suburban chatter that made her acceptable and likeable. My dad had no time for any of it and was totally puzzled by me.
I was sensitive and aware; I became bulimic, anorexic, then turned to drugs when throwing up was no longer an option. My brother and I actually laugh about it now, how my dad would start picking on me at the dinner table and I would go throw up. It was the only thing I could control, the only place he couldn't get at me, even though in his mind his criticism was intended to make me better and stronger.
Poetry has nothing to do with rules. There might be structures to it, and it's probably really important to choose your words wisely, but it's always important to choose your words wisely. I haven't always: my apologies to everyone, including myself.
From my same fifteen year old self:
Human games are all the same.
Wanting more and more and more
Is such a useless thankless chore.
So just let go of all you want and all you know.
Be kind. Keep love in your mind.
I was so smart and kind then. I love finding these old papers, proof of who I've always been.