For those who don’t know, Escapril is the brainchild of poet and novelist Savannah Brown, who challenges the poets of Instagram to write and post a poem every day of National Poetry Month. Whilst Brown wouldn’t call herself a leader of the challenge, she is the “managerial ghost” of the @letsescapril Instagram account.
The prompt today is “naked.” I knew I wanted to write about vulnerability. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about in recent years, and it’s still something I’m learning how to do.
The angle I decided to take with the poem was inspired by Tim Kreider’s excellent Medium article “I Am a Meme Now.” Specifically, this quote:
[It’s] scary putting yourself out there, letting yourself be seen, vulnerable to people’s wrong opinions and dumb judgments. I’d sooner let a stranger see me naked than show them a first draft, which is like letting them see my naked brain.
As someone who writes, I very much connected with Kreider’s anxieties about exposing my naked brain to a stranger. It’s one of the things that has kept me from publicly blogging over the past year. Even posting these poems to Instagram has taken a great deal of mental strength to resist overthinking and excessive editing. It’s most certainly the reason why I couldn’t keep up with the challenge and post daily.
But I feel comfortable with this poem. In fact, I even feel a little proud of it.
For those who’d prefer the typed version over my handwriting (and I wouldn’t blame you if you did):
Uninhibited, unpolished, and unpublishable,
leaving in the bits that turn cheeks crimson.
The first draft is where I tell you what I feel
before I try showing you through analogy.
I so hope you read between lines
because all my confessions are subtext.
I rewrite lines and recast characters,
my second draft is really the first of a new tale.
Some writers strip away as they edit,
writers proud to show off a bit of skin.
But I’m the type to wear the next size up,
covering up what I was always told to cut.
“People will love you, mixed metaphors and all,”
you say to the writer who frets over uncrossed Ts.
Even if I bared to you my naked body,
I could never promise you my naked brain.