Sitting next to my bed are two dying roses. At beauty’s end they release a scent stronger than anything they ever deigned while they lived. It is the scent of roses with a pungent hint of death. I love the smell. It is the smell of struggle, of pain, the last exultation of a life now ended. It is fitting that a final moment all energy and consciousness is used in that ultimate push to release all that is good in us into the world before we leave it. In that moment of struggle we release our sweetest scent.
It is in our struggle that our art has the greatest value, and it is our art that makes the struggle worthwhile. I can say without a doubt that poetry helped me survive adolescence. I came through that turbulent time – probably not quite sane but at least able to feign sanity well enough to get by – because I found a way to rip the turbulence from my being and entrap it on paper where it was far more manageable. Even now the release of my creativity as a poem, short story, item of jewelry or strategically chopped up article of clothing embodies the turbulence of the intense struggle that is my life right now. My creativity is my last ditch effort to release into the world all that is good in me even as my spirit complains there is no good left; I preserve my life in my art even as my life crumbles around me. But from the ruins rises a new era, from the ashes a phoenix, and from a dying flower the bittersweet scent of art.
(Photo by Kelene Blake)