the essence of existence

the essence of existence
poem by michele lee crick

stillness gives birth to chaos
between life and death we yearn
to hear nothing full of emptiness

broken bodies sacrifice
precious idols of the mind
to touch something within everything

devoted lovers inhale
fear and fantasy burning
to know that truth permeates fiction

and when our ears cannot see
the essence of existence
to embrace peace wafting through nightmares

merge into stillness once more


This poem is, in part, a play with syllables. The rhythm is: 7, 7, 9 / 7, 7, 9 / 7, 7, 9 / 7, 7, 9 / 7. However, after posting to my website I realized it was more interesting to include the title and my name as a subtitle as part of the pattern. This makes sense, the creation of the poem begins with the title, with 7 syllables. This ends with 7 syllables, this feels right, like creation has already begun again. So, including the title the pattern is: 7, 7 / 7, 7, 9 / 7, 7, 9 / 7, 7, 9 / 7, 7, 9 / 7.
I did not begin the poem with any intention of playing with syllables. I almost hacked away at the finished product to create several Haiku poems instead, but, fortunately, sudden problems with internet connectivity discouraged me from pursuing that.
I prefer for the format of the words and language of the poem stay as I wrote them, so I uploaded a photo of the poem instead. For accessibility I’ve written the poem in the ‘alt text’ option for the photo.

2020 Credo

Me 2020, Photo Credit: Elicia Varnado

As per the advice of Colum McCann in the book “Letters to a Young Writer,” I’ve decided on a credo for my writing:

I am not the two-dimensional propaganda carefully crafted by those who wish I’d never been born. Nor am I any mythical heroine burdened with limitations of virtue, or vice. Imagination attempts representation but should not subscribe to theories of knowledge. I, like any character, breathe beyond the page and die without an ending. Predictable skin-deep desires may dance us through the script but truth is touched only when the heart can be felt screaming beneath the tripe.

Love Letter from a Beggar

Cliche but apropos – a vision of myself in the depths of a dark and silent ocean. Weightless and peaceful, absorbed in infinite bliss of nothing and everything, finally I can breathe. Inhale silence, exhale silence. 

Abruptly pulled to the surface by necessity of food and clothing, I become nothing but a beggar and an actress.

Meaninglessness pervades even the most educated conversations and emptiness is the subtle taste of gourmet food. Please Don’t dangle the hope of a psychological diagnosis over my words. Existence is not a curable condition and even death cannot promise an end to this frenetic noise. If you care about me, just sit with me in silence, and do not require me to sing and dance for food.