Word Upon Word

Unorganized, like my life, I have stacks and stacks of words piled high.

   Hardcover notebooks and coil-bound scribblers with pages torn out or

splattered with coffee, the cover crinkled or nonexistent, sticky notes peering

out all over the place, their purpose no longer evident.

   A mass of words; random thoughts, heartfelt prose, messages of anger and

liberation, or letters never sent. The skeletons of lonely poems are sketched

out in some, partially presented prose full of rhyme and reason set out in

others. This is my life.

   This is what I write.

   My handwriting as inconsistent as my days, it gets messy, it gets erased,

sketches out a questionable trail, but I leave my mark. I hear the pencil press

my soul into the paper. Sometimes I can hear the pain.

   I write. Often. All the time, and, maybe not enough.

   While some of my works make it into a manuscript, essay, or rant, the rest of

the notes rest silently between the covers. Right there, as sure as I am.

   I write things down to remind myself, perhaps for convenience, or maybe

inspiration. I feel thoughts are better contained splayed out on a page than

circulating through my mind (that can get dangerous).

   It doesn’t matter so much what I write as much as what I write into it.

Details matter: questions to somebody who is not around, a laundry list of

lost and found; theories that wake me at night, or delicious morning thoughts

because I have them. There are disturbing missives when I can’t bare to say

the words aloud, guilty pleasures are often allowed, and the remainder of the

sentences and stanzas are held hostage. Until later.

   There have been magnificent ideas (at least at the time), or scenes that

belong in a book of mine.

   I write out my life more for myself than those who are allowed a glimpse

into this restless being.

   What then of those who do not write?

   What do people do when they think they have something to say? What about

those who do not collect daring thoughts, or mundane messages that

unexpectedly arrive? Do they leave memory to chance?

   Do they remember specific nights, purposeful conversations, a daughter’s

encouraging words, or the events that seem to make it or break it in present


   Do they not make plans, or set goals?

   How do they account for their sins, or the substance of their self? Have they

none, or do they not care? Are they unconcerned about where they have

been, or what they have put themselves through?

   Or why? How? And what about the when, as it changes over and again?

   I spend unaccountable hours writing for me and my accountability.

   I write not for proof, or validity, but to simply ensure these voices I hear

have space to breathe. Thoughts without a place are uncontrollable, but give

them a home, a notebook or journal, and they will behave (to a degree) for a


   I write because I want to read my own depth (which can be both narrow and

flat, but entirely mine).

   I write because I need to write.

   I write because I don’t remember what it is like not to write, and I don’t

want to forget.

© 2018 j.g. lewis

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