When I first started writing poems, I focused so much on following rules–making sure I rhymed, making sure they were the same length–because that is what I was used to. However, being a natural rule bender, I felt having to follow the rules so much was so constricting and a little too neat. Sometimes I just needed my poems to be messy and unconventional. That’s when I met William Carlos Williams, a modernist poet. And through his writings, I realized how inspired I was by him. He wasn’t so much focused on following rules when writing poetry; it was all about creating vivid imagery with a few simple words. I was so inspired by the simplicity of his poems that I tried to emulate his style.
The poem below is my first poem that I wrote inspired by William Carlos Williams’ style of writing.
You reside in a shallow world,
a system troubled with deception
where difference is rejected like a foreign body.
It does not belong.
You live a life without knowledge.
You’d rather live in a cold selfish box
than coexist and learn to love.
You’d rather immerse yourself in filthy ignorance.
Don’t you know?
Ignorance kills the brain cells.
It slowly eats at the spirit
until it becomes nothing,
a lonely pile of refuse.
Hey fool, why are you afraid to open your heart?
What harm can possibly be done?
In shaking hands of a different color,
would you suddenly change hue
as does the clever chameleon?
Oh yes, you are a chameleon in clever disguise
pretending to be one of us
by telling us you like our kind
when deep inside you loathe the sight of us.
Oh stupid fool, gain wisdom.
Take the earth’s bounty
because life has a great deal to offer
and being shallow is out.
I am black and proud.
I stand tall with erect shoulders.
No one can contend with me.
I shall not be ashamed.
For the day God created,
he saw everything that he had made,
and look—it was damn good.