A story in many unequal parts, some missing – 23

I was gathering strangeness, like little stones. Tossing
them into a jar, waiting for the water to rise to the
top. A thirsty crow, negotiating…

Just dropped Part 23 of the series: “A story in many unequal parts, some missing”. Read the poem here.
Catch up on the previous post that has the recording of Part 14 if you haven’t heard it already!! This series has been active now since the end of July and we’re up to 23 poems and 14 audio recordings. Hope you’ve been following!!

A story in many unequal parts, some missing – 20

That time, alone, without a phone, hungry, afraid, the rain
beating down for three days straight, flooded streets like

prison moats. The Bay of Bengal…

So I just dropped Part 20 of the series: A story in many unequal parts, some missing. Read the whole poem here.
Catch up on the previous post that has the recording of Part 11 and some backstory! Want to hear your thoughts!!

How do you know your poetic memoir is on the right track?

Here’s the ultimate checklist:

1. You have started finding the words. The writing is completely organic. Organic, but still unhealthy. And unsustainable.
2. Poems are coming in bursts of three or four at a time. Well, drafts, not real poems. But who’s judging?
3. Connections that you had forgotten or repressed or never seen, start showing up in clear red lines. Sometimes double red lines but what that means is still unclear.
4. Like the moon on a cloudy day, the present reveals itself with stunning clarity for one unexpected moment. Then two. That’s about it, though.
5. Readers who know you a little are getting uncomfortable reading the poems.
6. Readers who know you well are avoiding your work altogether.
7. You find chunks of your life, short periods, entire years, that have been so unmemorable, they aren’t worth writing about. Things that seemed overwhelming or even interesting then, translate into poetic chalk dust.
8. Memories are not set in stone. They say, the more often we recall something, the more we alter its details. Your truth is possibly a lie. Or a stretch. Or just convenient (though by that logic, what we don’t remember, is what we remember best, no?).
9. Catharsis is a trick word. It is the exact thing as the light at the end of a tunnel. A very long, very painful tunnel. You have realized how that will end.
10. You’ve figured out that this is not a mystery novel (more Non-Fiction, History, Self-Help). There is no twist in the tale. The hound barks when it should, the killer is on the orient express, whatever it is, is buried under a pyramid somewhere.
11. You are your only audience. As long as that much is clear, you can skip a few sordid details, forget a few names and fast-forward the cringe. Not that you haven’ seen the movie. This is just the book.
12. The three people you hope will never read this, will. You can bet your last rupee on it. Your “who gives a fuck” confidence should have factored this in by now.
13. You know for sure that when the imposter syndrome wears off, there is the anxiety about the quality and merit of your life to look forward to.

If you check most/ all of these boxes, don’t stop, you have an absolute winner! My poetic memoir is a work-in-progress here.


(Inspired by Colleen Redman’s New Thursday 13, list-making joy that I recently discovered!)