This is supposed to be my good-bye to the Poetry Project but I’ve got to be honest, I’m having a lot of trouble with it. The psychology of saying good-bye is complicated: feelings get confused, anxiety accompanies change, and words won’t come easily. In an effort to organize my thoughts and give words to my feelings, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the past 14 weeks. I’m so sad that it’s almost over that I’ve been hoarding Sodexo napkins just in case I burst into tears at any moment. Just yesterday I pulled a brown blob that used to be a stack of napkins out of the lint trap in my dryer, and even that made me weepy. Saying good-bye sucks.
I will miss the people the most, but some of the tasks on which I’ve left a piece of myself are hard to part with too. I don’t want to stop making blog posts because there’s too much left to say. I haven’t even touched on the subjects of poetry therapy, my writing toolbox or my passion for the technique of clustering. I don’t want to give up my reign as keeper of the Facebook page. I love posting comments, photos, prompts and information about what’s happening in the local arts scene. I’ve obsessed over which posts get the most views, likes and reaches in an effort to repeat the good ones and achieve record breaking results. I’ve spent so much time obsessing over the data that it’s actually a little creepy.
I’ve been thinking about all the things I got to do that I probably never would have if I had not been an intern. I typed, cut and rolled strips of paper containing 100 different poetry prompts. I discovered more about myself as a writer and discovered that I can, indeed, write poetry. I learned patience while trying to navigate the blogger site, and enjoyed the relief that came with saying good-bye to blogger! I stalked artists, poets, and professors in person and via e-mail in an effort to obtain art submissions, poetry submissions, restraining orders. I chased geese through the rain to take their photograph. I got to meet new people and hear great poetry.
While preparing to write this post I reread Cammy’s lesson plans, the poems I wrote during workshops, all of Audrey’s and my blog posts and the volumes of e-mails from Abby and Heather that I’ve kept… just in case I may need them again. I reread “Loading a Boar”—twice. I looked at the photo of Audrey and myself on that first day when we were still strangers and BPP virgins and I want to say to both of us “Guard your hearts… because eventually you will have to say good-bye!”
Luckily the good-byes have been doled out in stages. My heart couldn’t take it if I had to say good-bye to everyone and everything at once. I already said good-bye to the Monday workshop group, those talented poets who allowed me to hear their souls and share their tears. Anita and your cows, Joanne and your father, Doug and your quest for a greener world… you will be with me always. I said my thanks to Cammy for allowing me to watch as she taught each lesson with patience and grace. I hope that someday pieces of your teaching style will be evident in my own.
The worst, I fear, is still to come. Audrey and I are stuck with each other for another semester, but I still have to say good-bye to Abby and Heather. How do I say good-bye to these incredible women? They’ve pushed me and nurtured me, shaped me and guided me, we’ve laughed a lot, cried a little, and I’ve become a better person under their guidance. They’ve helped me to become a better writer by challenging me to cut and dig deeper while writing these posts. They helped me to stop procrastinating because the BPP is a living thing that needs consistent attention. Saying good-bye to them is like saying good-bye to mothers, sisters, mentors, and friends. It’s just too hard. So I won’t do it. We will meet again!
So, farewell and so long Binghamton Poetry Project. It’s been a wild ride. As Hank Williams Jr. says, “It’s all over but the cryin’.” I am grateful to have known you, to have shared this experience with all of you, and you will forever reside inside my heart. With great sadness, I am welcoming this change and looking forward to reading the next semester’s interns words right here. Stay tuned; we’re not done just yet! There’s still 2 more weeks of this semester including one more post from Audrey!
(soon to be former) Spring 2015 Intern