The sound of one man clapping is the name I have given to the story of my first sharing of some of these poems.
I gave a few pages of freshly written poems to two artist friends. A few days later the feedback arrived. They told me I was just an intellectual wanker with no right to call my writing poetry. It was like putting scribbles on the wall for an art exhibition. I was devastated.
Lying on my bed at home, contemplating the criticism and pain associated with it, I had an insight that was to serve me well on my journey.
“What I had written was just my honest expression of my world, my experience my trying to make sense of it all. It was no more than that, neither good or bad just my truth. I imagined myself on a podium speaking my poems and looking up and seeing myself as the audience and clapping to the man who was just speaking his truth”
The pain gradually subsided. It was my beginning of learning to express and share who I was, learning to face the fear and do it anyway. It gets easier the more you do it and those that appreciate the intimacy and openness make great friends. I have also found that my poetry is quite good my artists friends were doing a destruct him thing – why? dont know really maybe they felt threatened by them calling to them to examine their own depths. Lift the lid on Pandora’s box. But the result was a gift as it assisted the birth of a wonderful insight.
I found it interesting that when I circulated my Reconstructing Humpty collection, that women seemed to see the story woven through the poems. Men seemed to just say which particular poem they liked.
My favourite response was from a boy of 14 at a dinner party. He said that he enjoyed the poems and his favourite was the one called ‘Fuck’ . When I asked why, he replied ‘It was so angry”