My Favorite Poem

I’ve been writing a lot of poetry lately, and it’s made me revisit my favorite poem. I would argue that it’s what was the initial spark that lead me here.

When I was 12 or 13, I wrote a poem. And it was terrible, like a lot of preteen poetry probably is. But I entered it into an ad that I saw in a magazine, and I had my poem published in a compiled book of poetry. So I guess technically, I am a published poet. And I say that with every ounce of sarcasm in my bones.

But I largely left writing alone after that. It wasn’t going to help me make friends in high school, so why did I need to worry about it?

Fast forward to about 5 years ago, and I stumbled upon the first poem that I can recall reading that spoke to me at my core. It’s called “lifedance” by Charles Bukowski.


I absolutely love this poem. It said things that I felt in a very vulnerable time in my life and made me feel less alone. Bukowski isn’t known for his chipper, upbeat prose, but when you’re buried in the dirt, sometimes you need to see another worm next to you.

the area dividing the brain and the soul
is affected in many ways by

This is a beautiful way of setting up the remainder of the poem. The duality of our person, both being affected by experiences in our lives.

some lose all mind and become soul:
some lose all soul and become mind:

At various points in my life, I’ve felt more connected to either of these two lines. I’ve mostly ever felt insane, surrounded by a world that I don’t fit in. To a certain extent, I still feel that way. A black sheep of society that can’t find a real connection with anyone. I’m not that nihilistic, but I relate to the feelings.

some lose both and become:

A dark approach to our lives. When you lose your soul and your mind, you become accepted in society. Again, I’m not that nihilistic, but I relate.

This is the first piece of writing that made me feel something. That’s why it’s my favorite poem. Not because it’s sunshine and daisies, or even because it’s representative of my life or anything I’m feeling. But I felt something when I read it. It’s what every writer worth their salt wants to do. It’s what I aspire to.


Photo by John Moeses Bauan on Unsplash

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