The Red Dawn came while I was asleep; I always wanted to be a painter, so I could show the Red in all things, but I lack the talent, skill, and motor skills of a visual artist. Instead, I have poetry. Most of my dawn poems were written to Christine. By then, however, she was just a fond memory. I have only my skill with words, and the guidance of the poets that came before me to show you the Red Dawn that I see. I endeavor to show, not tell. I endeavor to recreate my senses on the page, to show the imagination I once prized. Now, I feel disconnected from my audience. It was easier writing to a memory than writing to you. Readership is sparse and understanding only comes in traces of those sparse grains of knowledge. I don't even remember how to write her; every time I drag out the old verses, I can only see the words. My craft excels now in ways I couldn't even imagine but five years ago. However, I feel like my work doesn't exist. If no one reads, how am I to share? When I destroyed many of my love poems a little over a year ago, I felt like I was liberating my work from the weights that dragged it down. Now, I think I might have betrayed my poems. How can I expect readership and understanding if I clip the best ones out of rage or sadness? Sonnet From the Void remains the only poem that survived the purge of 1998. It also survived in June 2004's round of extinction along with most poems of my epic era. I don't remember how many lines I killed a year ago, but I think it could have been a lot; time will never tell. It seems I have trouble letting go the things that don't want me around, while simultaneously amputating anything that tries to comfort me. It seems easier for me to write the Red Dawn at night for eight unwanted years, easier for me to think only of my Angel of Pain, and easier for me to kill poems whose only crime was recording the limitations of my happiness, than chronicle the steps away from love as freely and truthfully as I chronicle the steps I hope will take me towards it.
Although I've posted this sonnet previously on my blog, it remains the best poem of my youth:
LOVE AND THE LION: A SONNET FROM THE VOID
The breath of lions fills the silent air.
I see the plains, the Sun without the sky.
And feel the grass that hides the Lion's lie:
That art from nature canít be made so fair.
He hunts the prey that donít know he is there:
The weaker beasts who know they're soon to die
When spotted by his hungry amber eye.
A thousand yards away they feel his stare.
I'm sitting on the cold and barren floor
I'm kept away from view, and out of light
And as I wander through the open door
A flash across the plains appears in flight
The Lion runs with claws and bony core,
Throughout the day, and gone alone, the night