Missed chance (a poem)

I hate it when I can’t read my own writing. There is a word missing from this one because I have yet to figure out what it is… [Update: I figured out the word. I’m going to leave that space blank, though. I kind of like the mystery it lends.]

I should have written it down
when it first came to mind
while it was still fresh and potent
full of meaning and import
the truth, raw and unvarnished

The truth is still there
with lessons to impart
The document, however, is lost
dormant in my thoughts
until another […….] is found

(27 September 2015—posted September 28th)


  1. Kevin, This is a poem I can relate with because I am self conscious and become anxiety filled with someone asks me to read what I’ve written out loud. I fumble the words and miss the pacing. I don’t do justice to my original intention for how I wanted my work to be conveyed to the reader. I’m hoping the more I read my work out loud, the easier it will be to get passed the roadblocks that stand between my voice and the reader’s ears. I like your poem and I especially like how you use punctuation in your poem. It reaches the brain on a slightly different symbolic level than the words themselves do.

    • Thanks. I had the start of a poem come to mind yesterday afternoon, but I didn’t write it down at the time because I had to be somewhere. By the time I got back and was ready to start writing, it had left me. By the time I wrote this particular poem, it was late enough in the day that my handwriting was not very clear, so there’s one word in that last line that I haven’t yet been able to decipher (which is why I used the brackets; I’ll fill in the word later, once I figure out what it is).

      The thing that has helped me when it comes to reading my writing out loud is to participate in open-mic readings, which I have been doing for about eight months now. Not only does it help me to better judge the quality of the poems I have written, but it also makes it easier for me to find those parts of a poem that still need work. I have also become more comfortable getting up before an audience. I still stumble over lines here and there, but I worry about it less and less. In my experience, most folks make mistakes at some point while reading (or singing, or playing an instrument, and so on); realizing that can make a huge difference. Sometimes, those mistakes can even add to the work — reading a different word out loud than the one you wrote down, for example. Plus, the thing about most open-mics is that they are a very supportive environment. Most of the people attending will be performing themselves, so they’re not there to tear anyone down. (Sometimes I even do some writing while people are playing music.)

      PoetsWest has a pretty good listing of Pacific Northwest venues on their web site (http://www.poetswest.com/venues.htm). Many of the open-mics listed are not exclusively poetry-oriented; the one I attend most regularly (at the Couth Buzzard, in Greenwood) features mostly music, but usually has one or two other people who read poetry or an excerpt from a book, and one woman even tap dances.

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