Friday, 22 May 2015

On Killing Your Poetry

(At the outset, let me thank Mr. Gieve Patel for the title plagiarized)
It isn’t easy to kill poetry.
Its seed is resilient, a fighter.
Not the kind that goes down easy.
Like a parasite, it keeps coming back.
Over and over and over again.
It gnaws at your innards.
Ceaseless, restless.
You might be tempted,
To just write and be over with it.
But mind you, that won’t be it.
For it is virile and viral and when one is done,
It wastes no time spawning the next one.
So you write the next one,
And the next one,
And the next one.
And soon, a forest,
Thick, will arise.
But fear not!
For I know the ways,
To nip it in the bud,
Or burn it to the ground.
Now, the irony of this whole enterprise hasn’t escaped me. I want to talk about killing poetry through poetry. More than ironical, it feels cannibalistic on some twisted level. Literally keeping the irony aside (by changing the form from poetry to prose – if you were wondering about the appropriateness of the “literally”), let me get down to the basics. Although I said in the beginning that it is not easy to kill poetry, it sure isn’t impossible. With enough willpower, one can definitely kill the poetry inside them. Trust me, for I know (Of course, that is axiomatic and rather non-falsifiable a hypothesis. But that, sadly, is the best I can give you as of now.)
The first thing to do in order to kill your inner poetry is to limit your vision. And by vision, I don’t mean just the physical vision. No. I’m asking you to narrow your horizon, shorten your roads and of course, close your windows. Avoid detail. Especially the small things in life, for they have a penchant for evoking poetry. Be as superficial as you can and you will be one step closer to your goal of finishing off your poetry.
Step two: Achieve an information overload.
Information (to be precise, mind-numbing and purely factual information) has the amazing ability to push out the poetic elements from your mind. Simply trying to push out poetry won’t work, since that will create a vacuum, which will eventually be filled by newer poetry. On the other hand, if you manage to push out poetry using an information overload, the latter will nicely compensate the vacuum created by the pushing out of the former. And what more, this transition will be imperceptible, since the creation and compensation happens almost simultaneously.
How to achieve an information overload you ask? Well, if your academics or work is not overbearing enough (as can happen to those unfortunate souls among us who chose a career in soft humanities), the internet is your place to be. But be warned! There are places on the internet which, far from overloading your mind with trivial information, can actually nurture the very thing you’re trying to kill: Poetry. Take necessary precautions to steer clear of such places. Off the top of my head, limit yourself to the popular parts of the internet and you should be safe.
The final and by far the most effective step is to ignore poetry altogether. Although this might look like an easy step to follow, it is in fact the hardest. As I’ve mentioned already, poetry is resilient. It just won’t give up. And it takes a lot of effort not to start writing. But, if you are strong enough to ignore the urges long enough, you might just end up with the perfect solution: extermination of the poetry inside you. This works because the seed of poetry is in many ways analogous to yeast. Just like yeast, which dies due to an overdose of the substance it creates naturally, the poetic seed will also keep producing the poetic urges, which, if not timely handled, can stew the seed, eventually leading to its death and thereby leaving us unable to distinguish between the worthy and unworthy of thoughts, so much so that we decide to stop writing altogether. To put it simply, if you ignore poetry long enough, it simply rots away.
So there you have it. The perfect, three-step program to kill your poetry.
Happy non-writing!