on the unfurling.

by Michael King

My friends, I’ve been writing poetry. As part of the 2017 agreement, I’ve been working to write more, and a friend has pushed me toward poetry. Everything that’s poured out so far has surrounded the idea of letting go. Of allowing my fingers to unfurl so I can move forward.

I used that word – unfurl – in some writing recently, and so I looked it up just to be sure I was utilizing it correctly. Here’s what Google had to say:

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Looking at that definition, my breath caught for a moment. ‘…especially in order to be open to the wind.’ A smile spread across my face, and I felt my fingertips spread. Openness to the wind is absolutely what I’m working toward. Unraveling the walls and trusting myself to try anew.

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Here’s a funny accident: When I wrote this poem, I unintentionally formatted it so that every line except the first was gray rather than black. One line, then, seems bolder than any: ‘More than anything, I‘. I don’t know if I’ve ever purposefully been so able to capture the necessary selfishness of healing.

It’s been my experience that poetry intimidates a lot of people. I don’t get it, they’ll say. This changed for me, I suppose, when I took a poetry class in college, and we learned to be less fearful of calling our work poetry. I came to understand it as the rawest form of writing. Like putting a tap line into our hearts and letting the words flow out. Every word (and its placement) both a purposeful choice and a happy accident.

Maybe life is poetry. Maybe life is a series of happy accidents.

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I’ve been working to get my Mind and my Heart on the same damn page for about 27 years. To write about them, to bring them to life and imagine them as inhabitants of a private universe, helps me untangle a few of the knots.

These are just two stanzas of something longer; for whatever reason, however, I like them on their own. (Note to self: More words does not always yield more understanding. [I’ve learned this lesson 1,124 times.])

Having published this, I became uncertain about the word ‘wring’ when the Mind was tangling with worry for the Heart. I Googled this time, too, and here’s what I found:

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Especially when one is powerless to change the situation. My Mind, wringing its hands over the plight of my Heart.

A happy accident. I’d never intended this layer of meaning.

Ten fingers, balled into two fists. It took me months to realize that I was trying to stand without letting go of the weights in my hands. I’m working to unfurl, to be open to the wind. Here’s what I’ve found:

unfurling

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