I Am

I Am Another You

Image: I Am Another You ~ Jeff Robinson

I am many things
A son, a writer, a boy, a man, a friend
I am all those things and I am nothing
On myself, I depend

I am a memory that will be forgotten
I am a face that will fade away
I long to be remembered
But even night must fade into day

I am a student, always learning
I am a child looking at the sky
I seek neither knowledge or power
Just the means to open my eyes

I am a dreamer of great dreams
I am the voice of all sorrows
I live for the simplest of things
A laugh, your smile; gone tomorrow

I am an atheist, asking questions
I am a soldier seeking peace
I do not fear death, or darkness,
I welcome its release

I am the wind howling in the treetops
I am the voice whispering in your ear
My anger can be quiet and unspoken
Or fill your heart with fear

I am the beggar on the street corner
I am the insect crushed beneath your feet
Pity me, for I am no one,
A lost soul in full retreat

I am a chameleon with many faces
I am a prisoner suffering on my own
I struggle silently behind my mask
But cry when I am alone

I am wise and I am stupid
I am a writer lost for words
My past haunts my footsteps
My story is waiting to be heard

I am honest like a true friend
I am jealous like the gods of old
Hurt me with tears and I am forgiving
But words make my heart grow cold

I am the fire burning brightly
I am the thunder and the rain
Everywhere I leave death and destruction
In my wake life grows again

I am a child born at the wrong time
I am the remnant of another age
I long for an end to violence
But war is history’s stage

I am a walking contradiction
I am everything I should not be
Proud; arrogant; ugly; beautiful
I am me

Licenced under a Creative Commons Licence

You can also listen to the poem at AudioBoo

If you’re wondering what inspired this poem, I wanted to write something different than I had written before. I have been feeling unwell recently and I wanted to write an honest examination of life, with all of its ups and downs.

It’s about me, an exploration of who I am as a person, but it’s also about everyone. I wanted it to feel personal but also to mean something different to everyone who reads it.

I hope you enjoyed the poem and that it means something unique to you, as it does to me.
~ CJ

10 thoughts on “I Am

  1. Ah, cj, I find this poem devastating; but then I find much of your poetry devastating. Although some of your others have been quite personal, this has a very different feel. It speaks to me of longing, frustration, and hope.
    It tells me that you—and I—wonder, often; constantly where we fit into this life-thing.
    Your seventh stanza particularly did me in—oh, cj!—and the mask, and the remnant, and the walking contradiction; all such evocative word prints.
    Your reading was heartfelt; professional. In the two years I’ve known you, this is the first time I’ve heard your voice. It sounded different than I would have imagined, but then they always do. Your voice is magnificent, really—have you done readings in public before? Please consider this encouragement to do more of them.

  2. Thanks, Muse. I’m glad you liked the poem. As you can imagine, it was a very personal thing to write but I actually found it quite easy to write at the same time. It came very organically and that was something I wanted to preserve in the poem, the feeling that these were my innermost thoughts pouring out and I wasn’t interfering with the flow.

    It’s interesting that you found it to be quite a wistful poem. I agree; it is very much about longing, and loneliness, and pain… but that’s what life is about when you think about it, isn’t it? Life is a journey of moments and experiences, of hope and desperation and love and loss and joy, and what I wanted to convey was that they’re all parts of who I am and I wouldn’t want to change them even if I had the chance. Sometimes I disappoint myself; sometimes I wish things could be different; but in the end I know that if I changed anything, I wouldn’t be me. So it’s a kind of an affirmation as well; sad but hopeful.

    Looking back I think a lot of the inspiration for my work comes from the feeling that I’ve always been something of an outsider; an observer; someone older than his years. It’s not something I dwell on; I’m actually quite proud of it, the idea that I don’t conform and am my own person. To be creative I think you have to be able to look at the world a little differently anyway, so it’s probably a natural feeling. But there are still times when we don’t quite know where we fit into our lives. I guess that’s what I’ve been exploring as well.

    I’m glad you liked my reading! It’s interesting hearing someone’s voice for the first time, isn’t it? We always sound a little different than we expect but it also helps to complete the image we have of someone in our minds, to make them more real. I’m glad you liked my voice as well. I’ll have to say G’Day next time in my best Aussie accent. πŸ™‚

    I have done some readings before, although nothing professional; I used to run a writers group and read some of my poetry there. I enjoyed it, so I might do more in the future; we’ll see. I think I’ll record the rest of my poetry over the next few weeks as well and post it online; it really helps to make it come alive.

    Thank you for your kind words and thoughts, as always. πŸ˜‰

  3. I loved this poem. It was very raw and emotional. The atheist part though:(. Maybe one day when you are looking up at the sky with those child eyes, you will discover that he really does exist. Life is short for sure, but all of the mysteries that surround it is what truly makes it beautiful. Look for the signs and they will appear. You have a beautiful gift, I have to believe that someone gave that to you for a purpose!

    Beautiful Poem


  4. Maribeth – thank you, I’m glad you liked the poem. I think it’s probably the most intimate poem I’ve written, the one which says the most about me and who I am as a person. Finding that balance between raw emotion and the stylistic flow was interesting… to make sure it felt natural was difficult but the writing itself felt quite easy. It was a rewarding mix.

    As far as the atheist bit goes, I should probably explain more. I am an atheist but I’m not militant about it or anything. I was brought up as a Christian by my parents and those values still inform my life today. I just found that as I got older I became less and less connected with any religion, until I just drifted away.

    It was a gradual process and there are still things I believe in but I feel that science helps to explain them. It may happen later that I feel myself drawn towards something else or have an experience that awakens something in me; but right now I feel content.

    The reference to atheism in the poem isn’t really meant to be about atheism itself; it’s more about my feelings about death, about facing my mortality and finding peace with it. I guess I just decided that all I can do is try and live a good life and if it turns out that I’m wrong later then I hope that would count for something.

    Is your poem still on your blog? I’d love to see it. And thank you for your kind words. πŸ˜‰

  5. Hi Libby – thanks for stopping by!

    I’m glad you liked the poem and thank you for the lovely compliment; I’ll have to thank MQ for sending you the link. Take care.

  6. Oh CJ! That just took my breath away. I don’t even know how to describe what it felt like to read it. I think many people could relate to this, but never have said it so well.

    You know you’ve read something good when you get goosebumps!

    And your accent! I love an Australian accent. So nice to hear your voice. Thanks for sharing with us and do take care.

    I think about you and your family quite often and hope all is well.

  7. BD – thank you, I’m so glad you enjoyed the poem. I think it’s probably my most accessible poem and I really wanted it to feel like it was about me but could mean something different to everyone who read it… that it could be harsh but honest, a real examination of life. I hope that’s what people take from it, that they can see something of themselves in it too.

    One of my favourite songs is Radiohead’s Creep. I love how raw it is, how Thom Yorke pours everything into the song. That’s the kind of feel I wanted this poem to have as well and that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to record it. Listening to poetry can add a whole other dimension to a poem and it worked really well for I Am.

    I’m glad you liked my accent! I have friends overseas who’ve been a bit shocked when they’ve first heard my voice. It’s funny because over here I actually don’t sound that Australian; my accent isn’t that strong compared to others. People keep asking if I’m English!

    I’m feeling a little better now; just needed some time to myself. I hope things have started to improve for your family as well; we’ve been thinking of you and wishing you the best.

    Thank you for you kind words, and many blessings. πŸ˜‰

  8. πŸ™‚ I like your words, the way they come together and what they mean….

    Best wishes….. πŸ™‚

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