I used to cut and paste little bits of songs and books and movies together to form a semi-coherent snippet of my brain, and if those songs and movies and books were identified and strung together and interpreted, they would reveal a deeper, more personal narrative.
Once, I used song lyrics from “Human” by The Killers to express the feeling of being trapped inside a relationship.
I used song lyrics from “Magical Machine” by Brooke Fraser to express the same thing.
I used lines from The Imitation Game to safely express that I have a non-normative sexual orientation.
I used phrases from Epic by John Eldredge to express my hope for the present and future of Earth.
Now that I am no longer in that relationship, I am out as non-heterosexual, and I am unashamedly open about my Biblical views, I no longer do this.
Someone told me that poetry is beautiful because it conceals the poet to the audience, but reveals the poet to the poet’s self. I used to agree, because I had many things to conceal from my audience.
I don’t anymore.
The best poetry I have ever read has been by poets who strip themselves naked, baring the markings on their brains made by capitalism, white supremacy, heteronormativity, and patriarchy. These are the poets who open up their chest cavities, revealing their already-vulnerable hearts so that hierarchy’s consequences might be understood and eradicated.
The world does not change for the better if poets use their words to conceal themselves.