Some might characterize me as being a little anal retentive. Those are the kind ones. The less kind ones might say that I border on the obsessive compulsive side. Just because my journals are color-coded and alphabetized by title and then sub-categorized by genre doesn’t mean I am obsessive. It just means I am organized. Meticulous. Precise.
All of my journals are organized like this except one. This one doesn’t follow my color scheme. Nor is it the same size as the others. It also lacks alphabetization and is not sub-categorized into any genre. It’s an old, fat, mint green journal whose lines are starting to fade. My dark journal, so called because it is the only journal that I go to when there are dark thoughts swimming in my head, is an outlier. It doesn’t belong with the rest of those neatly ordered journals that line the side of my bed. Nonetheless it sits beside the rest.
Because lurking inside the cover of that journal are pages and pages of poetry. Free verse spills across the spaces of once blank pages dancing into the margins. Uneven lines of thought bear testament to the upheaval of emotions, a snapshot of my life captured in ink with my pen acting as the conduit between thought and truth.
This poetry, so unlike my usual style of writing, is completely antithetical to the solid security of the sentence or the comforting structure of the paragraph that line the pages of my color-coded journals. There is no order to be found here, yet among the chaos of words flowing into words unchecked by such conformities as punctuation or line spacing, there is meaning.
And I remember.
I remember why I keep this odd little journal though it fits nowhere into my carefully ordered life of subjects, verbs, clauses and phrases. This journal with its cracked cover and yellowing pages is the one place where I can write for myself. Those other journals, as important as they are, are full of stories I tell for others, but this one is mine. With its hastily scribbled words and half-formed ideas, it shows the truth more clearly than any of my precisely written paragraphs ever could.
I am meticulous. Careful. Precise. Well-ordered, color-coded and alphabetized. Yet, when I need comfort or solace, I go to this journal, and invariably, I wind up finding myself.
Nights spent walking
Bare toes shuffling across floors bathed in the lights of
Street Lamps—I glide from room to room,
A shadow in the moonlight.
Unseeing eyes guide my steps as slowly
With listless hands
Moving, working, writing, washing
Unseen hands in the dark, I wander
No thoughts whirl behind closed eyes.
No worries beyond navigating the furniture
Those silent sentinels who stand guard
Over my silent flight.