A story, to me, is like sitting in a field of fireflies. Words flit above and around me, twinkling like low flying stars. All I have to do is reach out into empty space and wrap my hand around a thought, pull it into my chest, and release it finally onto the paper, immortalized forever in the pages of my notebook. A story often comes in complete sentences, whole ideas, waiting nearby only to be recorded. Poetry is a little bit different.
Poetry slips through my mind, elusive, incomplete. It begs finality, a beginning and an end. A single phrase will arrest my attention, then leave me in a panicked frenzy for paper and pen. As the light drifts away, sometimes, I lose it. But, when I am quick enough, I can toss my pen into the air and spear the escaping idea, catch it with careful hands as it falls to the earth, and lovingly piece it back together, a small victory in the war that words have waged against me.
Stories come to me continually, like waves lapping against the shore of my mind. They are a common place beauty, easily taken for granted. I do not love stories the way I love Poetry. Because Poetry is the greater battle, the deeper struggle, the fiecer fight. Poetry is sacrifice and pain. I often pull stories from all my pockets like loose change. But my Poetry is something that I rip from my heart, wrenching away my most precious thoughts from inside of me, and offering them as little trinkets to the common man on the street.
Poetry is painful, precious. My private emotions on display to those who may not understand or appreciate, that scares me. But that pain, that risk, that heartache, is what makes Poetry worth while.