my coffeeshop here in Orlando – Downtown Credo – holds skill share workshops on Saturday mornings from time to time through Conduit. it’s been awhile since they’ve had them and for a long, long time i was not able to attend them because i was baking bright and early every Saturday morning at Blue Bird Bake Shop.

however, this past Saturday there was a writing workshop for prose or poetry, for those in process and those wanting to learn. i came empty handed, though my short collection of poems was concealed in the bag i brought with me. not yet ready to submit my poems to scrutiny or critique, though i guess willing enough to share.

the group started by saying how we started writing and why we were there.
i came across poems by accident. i remember reading them along the way here and there for school. but i never really felt as though i understood them when i read them on my own. until my summer in the attic. there i came across a book of poems by Wendell Berry. i had read some of his essays and really picked up the poetry book not expecting much, but i fell in love.

to the point that i exhausted the book within the week and rode my bicycle to the Gnu’s Room looking for another poetry book of sorts. i wanted a classic. i’ve had a great time reading through classic literature and thought a classic poet would be a good starting off point. lo and behold i found the most perfect little copy of an Emily Dickinson book, coffee ring stain on the cover and all. super small and very cheap. Emily was a little slower for me to get through. but it was only my second book of poetry and through her writing i realized that i think poetry makes more sense when read aloud. the rhythm of the poems make more sense when i speak them.

then i had a bad day. and when i went to journal, my thoughts came out in poems. poems that expressed my love, my hurt, my fears and hopes and desires.

could this secret world of words
actually be a place of freedom for me?

its been 3 years since those first couple poems. i still journal, and not often in poems. every now and then i’m surprised by one though. i’ve since bought a lot more poetry books and fallen in love in spoken word. i started this blog, which is mostly not poetry and remembered that i love words and writing, even though words are not always safe.

but not until this writing workshop did i realize that you can write poems just for fun. we did a writing exercise and i wrote this poem:

the color red tastes like
sunshine exploding
like the sweet honey of
cold watermelon on
a hot sunny day
its as if the universe conspired
to fill you with relief, comfort
and contentment
and memories of sweetness.
red tastes like warm cookies
fresh out of the oven
like walking into a dear friend’s house
just in time
as she is pulling the cookies out
your heart filled with chocolate
and friendship
the color red tastes like firewood smells
deeply satisfying
the sounds of campfire filling your ears
and overflowing your heart
the color red tastes like
warmth, love and beauty
coming in close to kiss you
and wrap you up in its arms
fiery, spicy, familiar love.

so, first time doing a writing exercise. give yourself 10 minutes and try it. we were supposed to use similes, which i did not really succeed at. here are all the different prompts to start the first line of the poem with:
the morning sun…
her voice…
the music sounded…
the color green…
the color red tastes…
midnight rain…
hearing her cry…
smelling the gasoline…
touching her dying father’s hand…

and post your poem in the response if you’d like. and go check out Janay Garrick’s work. she led the workshop and is an incredible writer of all things.

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