Let us let you in on a small secret over here at Shoptiques.com: our editor is slightly obsessed with spoken word poetry. Now, before you head off and start to read up on other more fashionably related news or information, let her explain. See, as a writer, though you may only know her as an editor, she is compelled by the unknown. The biggest of which is the cavity that is other people - the soul that fills their outer shells. For someone who knows that they have been on this earth more than once, someone who can feel and smell those alternative lives, not being able to live the lives of her choosing is quite literally a painful thing.
It makes her heart hurt, for lack of a better phrase.
As a child, she wanted to be an astronaut, president, chocolatier, Carson Daly, reporter, shoe designer, softball player, mother, and the list goes on. However, contrary to what you might think, her reasons for wanting to be these things were not because they sounded cool or flashy or because she liked the life they might be able to provide. No, she wanted to be those things only for that moment in which the only person in the world who gets to experience it - is that particular person.
She wanted to see the blue marble that is earth and be forever changed by the realization that we are truly nothing and yet possibly the only things at the very same time. She wanted to hold the hand of a small child as she signed into law something that would forever change that child's life - for the better. She wanted to know the ins and outs of chocolate in its purest form, and explain that knowledge to her children for generations of beautiful chocolate to come. She wanted to host TLC. No mystery there. Wasn't much deeper than that.
See, there are millions of lives being lived out around you every minute of every day. Most of those lives are not yours and like the astronaut orbiting the earth already knows, yours isn't the least bit important, in the grand scheme of things. In fact, it is our collective living and breathing planet, the cognizant emotions that we all share, the humane touches and understanding eye contact that truly mean something in this world. They are the only things that ever have. They are the only things that ever will.
Spoken word poetry, and poetry in general, is the medium of art where in which that knowledge is best transferred from human being to human being. From a word of condolence wrapped up in flower symbolism to deep rooted hate coming undone within a waterfall metaphor, if our world means anything outside of ourselves, our poetry is it.
Poetry allows you to live different lives for the whole duration of a reading. And each time you read that same poem, again and again you live that life, this time a little differently, falling into the lines of questioning, "this or that," "which and why," that each one of us continues to meander. Only this time, you are navigating it through someone else's eyes rather than your own.
Spoken word poetry is an old medium that has recently been brought back to life. It pulls the attention of poetry-lovers and the illiterate alike, forcing them to see, hear, smell, feel and perhaps even taste the true meaning of poetry: life understood through the other, your neighbor, your comrade, your kin. Like all forms of poety.
April is National Poetry Month and whether you are like our editor and seek out spoken word or you simply pick up a new poetry book you've never heard of, take the time this month to experience the art form and expand your horizons. Think you just don't "get" poetry? Read and reread until the marginalizing lines of your self start fading away into the outer walls of someone else, and there, you will find the deeper meaning.
In the meantime, let this young girl's story inspire you: