the source

I used to write more
fictionalized poems. I felt like I
was channeling them from
somewhere else. sometimes
I didn’t know where
they were coming from
or what they meant. it always
bothered me that I
hadn’t actually experienced
these situations that
came through my pen.
it robbed me of authority,
I thought, and furthermore,
it made me feel stupid,
because I couldn’t explain it.

once I was reading
Don Quixote and I was inspired to write
a vaguely romantic poem
about a knight named
Roland. it seemed meaningless,
yet oddly charged
at the time. several months later
my seat mate on a plane
flirted with me for six hours straight
before finally admitting
to having a girlfriend. just
before deplaning, he showed me
his driver’s license,
and there it was
in black and white: his name
was Roland. I thought of
my poem and felt like it
was more of a prophecy
of that situation
than a coincidence.

so now, even when
some fiction occurs
to me, I try to situate it
within the context
of my life and my own
reality. anyway I don’t
really care if the reader
can relate to the details.
they are for me.

I try
to write my feelings
in such a way that
someone reading might
recognize something
of themselves in them.
a well-turned phrase
still rings true
even in the midst
of my specific, untranslatable
situation. my personal truth
can be meaningful
to someone else
without my trying
to make it universal.

feelings are what’s universal.
details sometimes are –
more so than one
might think, I think – but even
if they’re not, who cares.

there’s something in me
that wants to come out.

if someone else
sees themselves in it, cool.

if not, they can scroll down
to the next poem.

Published by

R. Brookes McKenzie

what fresh hell is this

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