Sometimes lines of poetry come to me in a flood, and other times they’re six years in the making. I’ve never put a ton of time into writing poetry, but strings of words occasionally pop into my head and I can’t get them out. To me, poetry is more than rhyming words and structured phrases. It’s a means of safely releasing secret emotions under the guise of obscurity and ambiguity.
I sketched out the rough draft of one particular poem on an emotional evening in February of 2008. I titled it “Captain Steve Part II”, even though the person who inspired it was not named Steve and there was never a Part I.
To say that this poem stuck with me over the years would be an understatement. Its words inspired me to get my second tattoo, a Celtic compass star positioned on my right shoulder, designed to guide me along my chosen path.
Back in 2008 and still today, I have struggled to find the place I’m meant to be. It’s not here, it’s not anywhere I’ve been before, and I’m starting to think that place doesn’t exist.
Recently on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I dusted off my old poetry journal and began flipping through the pages. The journal fell open at “Captain Steve Part II.” Although I was somewhat critical of the actual prose, the feelings behind it still rang true.
I decided to resurrect and revamp “Captain Steve,” with a new name and a few new lines. Here’s how it goes:
The star that guides through the desert
The compass that guides through the sea
The intricate path I must follow
Towards where I’m meant to be
The map that once held answers
Is practically worthless to me
Uncomfortably forcing me to venture out
Into unfamiliar territory
Refusing to sail along blindly
Focused on the only light I see
Let crashing waves take control
Close my eyes and simply breathe
Wake to the taste of sand on my tongue
A stinging sensation in my eyes
Fall to my knees, frantically feeling
As I throw my hands to the sky
There is no guidance in this life
No master plan behind it all
No pre-determined path to follow
No inspiring other-worldly call
So I turn my ear to the sound of the breeze
And wait for a shift in the wind
Scenery changes while I stand still
Wasting away in someone else’s skin