Writing Dark Poetry

Often poetry is bright. It’s a warm morning curled up in bed, or a piece of pie shared between two kids who normally fight nonstop. It’s a celebration of our bodies, or a glorification of the fleeting minutes in our lives. Poetry seems dedicated to the greatness of life, the depth of life.

Life’s not always great. Sometimes, life is horrible, dark, unhappy, depressed. That’s where Dark Poetry comes into play.

I love Dark Poetry, because I love honest poetry. I love a real moment, shared with someone else. And when you think about it, a dark poem is a quite intimate thing. It’s one thing to share your great, bright moments with others. That’s something we do all the time. Social media is full of the bright moments. The birthdays and big wins. The bright new lipsticks and after gym pics.

We don’t share the loses. The nights sitting in the emergency room, waiting for any kind of news. The bad test results. The failures.

It’s the lump your mother found and didn’t want to tell anyone about.

It’s the bottles of vodka vanishing faster and faster.

It’s a trip to the casino. Then another, then another.

It’s a bruise on your friend’s collar bone that she doesn’t want to talk about.

It’s a dog that’s getting older.

It’s a phone call to your wife that was sent to voice mail.

It’s the bills with red letters.

A dark poem is that thing you don’t talk about, don’t think about, don’t act on. Until it acts on you.

Don’t be afraid to write dark poetry. Because art is honest, before everything else. We, as authors of poetry or prose, need to be honest too.

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