A poem about life as a story

Credit: Rory Popp

I wrote this poem, because I was thinking about the different ways that human lives would exist if they were all just stories; the idea that all of life is a story written somewhere by someone was very compelling to me.

Everyone’s life is a story, someone, maybe ourselves, writes furiously every day, filling pages and pages with your words and your actions; every little detail is meticulously recorded for you to keep.

You bleed into other people’s stories of course, as time goes on and more and more people interact with you. You’ll become the endearing side character, the kind stranger, the waiter at the restaurant the day someone proposed. Human lives are made up of little chapters and big words, beginnings, middles and ultimately, endings. Every good story has an ending.

Some endings are happy — some stories are over when its protagonist dies naturally of old age, in their bed, surrounded by people who love them. These stories are written in gorgeous indigo ink and flowery handwriting — handwriting you only accomplish when you’ve worked on one letter for weeks.

Some stories end horribly, gunned down in war; betrayed by someone you love; a robbery gone wrong; your mother couldn’t provide food for you, much less herself. These stories are written in heavy black ink, scrawled in beaten up notebooks with smeared letters and dark blotches where the writer tried to ease their pen into a couple more words, a sentence maybe.

And then there are the stories that don’t get an ending.

Before I tell you what those stories are, I’m going to tell you that they’re written in blood, dark and fierce and full of life that didn’t get to be lived.

These stories are written as afterthoughts on scraps of paper lost somewhere in the writers handbag. These stories end in blank pages with last nights ink bleeding onto them. These stories are ideas that never got to reach their full potential. These stories we don’t get to finish. We don’t get to reach a happy ending. We’re left with jagged pieces of broken pens.

Because these stories — their protagonist, the human life living in them — are broken. At least their characters seem to think so. Their characters seem to think that no matter how much the author edits them, they’re too broken to be fixed; they’re too broken to be given the time of day. The characters think they’re worthless and have nothing to give.

These stories don’t get an ending.
These stories don’t get an ending, because we rip it away and burn it.
These stories don’t get an ending, because the author’s muse is dead.
These stories don’t get an ending by choice but at the same time not.
The ending is taken by the character, because we make them feel like they have to.
These stories are written in full combat with the character, and finally, the character wins — or loses, I guess. I don’t think there really is a winner in these stories.
These stories aren’t rare.
These stories are far too many.
These stories are the most tragic of them all.

What do you think?

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