Friday Excerpt: Sanctum

Today's excerpt is Sanctum, from Letter to Langston.


I sat down with Langston today hoping that he would help me find my way. As I pulled myself through the pages of his revelations I still walked away with more questions than answers. So again I made my way to the small corner of the book store where poets die to go, and some go to die, and tried to relate my story to the ones already told by Zora, Emily, Nikki, Ralph, Maya and hell, even Tupac…Hey this is our confessional, we don’t judge here.  Instead we sit on the shelf waiting for our hearts to be massaged as fingertips caress turning pages. We hold our breath as eyes dance across our joy and pain because our prayer is never that you like it, but that you “get it”. We hope that you understand the moment…the millisecond that we were experiencing and we fear death of our work if it’s lost in translation. But no matter what we start writing “Where the sidewalk ends” and keep going ‘til we get “tears for water”.

It’s a long journey of highs and lows, but poetry happens every day and with every breath that we take, so the pen keeps feeling long after the showcase is over and the spotlight dims. And even though our words may never see the light of day or grace the shelves of our quiet confessional, we wake from happy slumbers in the late nights and early mornings jarred by a rhythm, rhyme or line. We toss and turn as poems write themselves and we are called to get them on paper before they disappear into the darkness of a much needed night of rest. It’s not notoriety that drives us to describe the visions we are given. We follow the words, the “how to” guides for survival that always seem to say the right thing.

No it’s not fortune or fame that leads us to that quiet place of predetermined endings and new beginnings. That cozy corner of life and death that both inspires and burdens, it simply is who we are and we run back to our old friends that suffer the same weight of greatness that every poet scours the thesaurus to describe. See it’s not that small corner carved out to pay tribute to the poets’ spirit that give us the peace we seek, it is when a haunting verse is manifested with pen and ink.