Editing Poems vs. Altering Poems


I’ve been contemplating whether I should edit my poetry outside of the emotional and spiritual spaces they are written in.  I’m contemplating how to edit a poem without altering it’s essence.

I wonder if I give my poems more clarity when “correcting” or editing them.  Aside from adding a word that I may have missed in the stream of consciousness I was writing in… do I actually make it more “correct” and more comprehensible?  Or when I’m editing am I just altering the vibe?  I feel I’ve ruined some poems that didn’t need my ego to strip them of their truth,  humanity and real beauty… to fit into whatever I believe is acceptable poetry… or so that I don’t feel I’ve betrayed myself by being too vulnerable and maybe giving too much of myself away.

I’ve changed poems to protect lovers from how I feel, how I see them and to protect our privacy… but why write a beautiful poem stripped of the lessons learned from my actual life to hide from the few who would even know who we are and what they are reading?

I don’t spare myself in writing.  I really can’t spare myself and grow.  When I write I come to be better and know better… and hopefully to not only have the wisdom to make better choices but find the courage.  So I admit when I’ve made a poor choice, feel selfish or caused harm.  I think admitting that I’ve made a mistake is how I remain open spiritually and creatively.  Which has made me a better friend, lover, artist and an overall better person.  I don’t spare myself in poems because poetry is how I do my spiritual work.  I don’t paint myself a hero, a victim, a villain or a damsel in distress.  I also think that accepting either of these roles as a condition would limit me from reaching my full potential…

In fact, I am so honest about myself I once had a lover say, she didn’t feel she needed to grow or change based on my poetry… Through my poetry, she saw herself as perfect… or that I didn’t find flaw with her… Because I lied about who she was, by omitting any challenges I had with her in my poetry.  Then, I hadn’t learned that it isn’t kind to protect people from our truth and maybe their truth.  How we see people isn’t always their truth… in love though, we each get an opportunity to see ourselves through different eyes.

Then, I was younger, I also think my thought process then was not to focus on the negative and to accept people as who they are.  I still think that acceptance is real love, but there is a fine line between accepting who people are and accepting how they treat you and how you feel as a result of that treatment.  It’s also hard to remain objective when we’re overwhelmed with hurt, disappointment, guilt or shame so that we can tell the difference between what we feel is happening in contrast to what is factually happening.  Feelings are usually rooted in a past experience and can undermine experiencing what is happening in the moment.  Our past lessons help us build, but they can also be destructive… There is thin line there… There is a thin line between standing up for ourselves, communicating how we are to be treated and trying to change people… I’m usually writing about the thin lines between… I’m usually trying to decipher what battles to fight.  I’ve always been, and still am focused on the big picture.  Also, when I decide to be in love with someone I also decide to always see the best in them.  Which means, I don’t ever see their intentions as harmful, so it’s hard when their behavior actually is harmful and I miss it.


Even then, I am always trying to find the balance, weighing things against my own actions towards myself.  Certainly I’ve made choices that haven’t served me.  I’ve definitely made choices that were against my internal spiritual knowing and even sometimes against spiritual warnings that have hurt me.  I’ve had to forgive myself for those choices.  Even now, I still on occasion go against myself… Sometimes I don’t know if it’s really my spirit speaking or fear or ego or the programming that tells me I cannot do things, or that I should not do things. That is my battle to know when it is actually my spirit speaking and to have the discipline and courage to heed it.  So I am always in a place of accepting the choices I’ve made that don’t serve my greatest good and forgiving myself… Knowing that, I am also forgiving of others who make choices that harm me, because I know it is not my intent to harm me, and if I know someone loves me I also believe it is not their intent to harm me…  Intentions don’t always translate into actions and words as often as emotions and impulse does.  So in love I want to give the benefit of doubt.  In poems I want to give the benefit of doubt… but sometimes impulse, ego, emotion or processing the current moment from the past nominates me as my own warrior, savior, or makes me a victim or villain…  All of that is important to write and be… All of it is human.  All of it allows me an opportunity to examine

But there is another thin line… Knowing someone does not have the intent to harm and deciding they are too destructive and you may have to let go to save yourself…  There is also another thin line, accepting that we are our own advocates/saviors while not in the same breath seeing ourselves as God.  There is a fine line between accepting our divinity and not feeling we are THE DIVINE.

So my poems are streams of consciousness written as I process feelings, actions, conversations and inaction.  When I edit, I want to leave the lessons or emotions or thought process in tact without judging whether it is wrong or right in tact.  Especially because, sometimes I return to a poem when I’ve learned better and I don’t want to edit it to show the lesson I’ve learned, that was missing when it was originally missing.  I want to leave in tact the process of learning and deciphering.  Actually, now that I’m writing and processing all this… I think I will also write another poem in the space of realizing what I’ve learned when I feel like I might be altering the original work.  I’m going to try and be conscious of the shift from editing, correcting for better comprehension to altering and changing the essence.

I’ve appreciated this opportunity to process. Thank you for being here to witness it… Love Love Love



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