Musicians without music.
I wrote my first poem following a dispute with my older sister when I was four years old. By default, she must have been six or so.
The two of us often played in our bathroom. Thanks to my mother, this room was wondrously decorated in an under-the-sea theme. We climbed in the cabinets that reached well over our heads, hiding spaces only fit for children. We slashed water in a civilized fashion as to not make a mess- an ideal deeply instilled in us both. We were rather well behaved hooligans.
On this particular day, the day I wrote my first poem, my sister and I were being especially rowdy: most likely sliding around on the rug that covered the sandy linoleum floor; excess water splashing going on as well. I remember the room being completely soaked. Perhaps we intended to clean it up; perhaps we had forgotten our instilled ideals. Either way, we were too rowdy: pushing and yelling, hooting and hollering. Suddenly we knocked over a vase. Shattered glass instantaneously everywhere, creating a mess unfit for kids to clean.
Noise followed by silence. A dead silence- the knowledge of reprimand worthy wrong-doing. We waited.
A knock at the door.
“What’s going on in there!?!”
Tears flowed from four eyes belonging to two children.
It was my father behind the door. He too disliked loud noises followed by silence and loud noises in general. I pulled the door open slowly, peeking out into his angry eyes.
Immediately a blame game began between siblings. Neither of us wanted to face the consequences; we were equally at fault; however, guiltlessly expressing innocence.
My father, often irrational at best, decided to hush our incessant whimpering rivalry. He needed something tangible to grasp, some certain evidence. Thusly, he asked us both to write our accounts of the incident-
Though I rarely find my father admirable, his unorthodox plan of action set into motion my persisting passions-
Sister and I to separate rooms. Pencils and paper. I only vaguely remember my writing. Here is a paraphrasing:
My father had offered no guidelines for these telling exposes. In all honesty, I believe I had not been exposed to poetry at this point in time. My writing was merely rebellious. I knew my sister was better suited to tell the story. She was a student- someone compelled to excel in school. And she always did. I wrote what I wrote because it was what I wanted. Again, truthfully, I knew that my father would undoubtedly be upset with my rendition. Nonetheless, I approached him and passed along my piece of paper. My sister followed suit.
He read mine first, found it outrageously incomprehensible, and tossed it into the trash- nothing short of my expectation.
I took full punishment, every pound of me surging with pride-
saying so little but with a sense of accomplishment.