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When I’m scouting spoken word poetry, I’m usually looking for whatever’s going to hurt the most, whatever will pack the biggest punch, whatever’s going to leave me feeling all the awful things that need to be felt. Koyczan doesn’t do that. Not to me, at least. For me, Koyczan’s poems don’t live in the hurt. They live in the space that comes after it. They live in the looking back. In the surviving. The healing.
Here are my favourites:
1. Instructions for a Bad Day
Favourite quote: “Admit to the bad days, the impossible nights. Listen to the insights of those who have been there, but have come back. They will tell you: you can stack misery, you can pack despair, you can even wear your sorrow – but come tomorrow you must change your clothes.”
2. Remember How We Forgot
Favourite quote: “Remember how we used to bend reality like we were circus strong-men, like our imaginations were in shape then, like we were all ninjas trained in the deadly art of, ‘did not!’ Like, ‘I TOTALLY GOT YOU!’ ‘Did not.’”
Favourite quote: “When I was a kid I was fascinated by space, and I learned that time slows near a black hole. Inside a black hole time stops altogether. Whether or not this theory will ever be proved, I am moved to believe this would be the perfect place to love someone.”
4. To This Day
An animated version of this poem can be found here, but I prefer the TED talk version because it has a small speech (for lack of a better word) that prefaces the poem, and strangely, in this case, my favourite quote comes from this rather than the poem itself:
“I will love myself despite the ease with which I lean towards the opposite.”
Donna-Marie Riley currently resides in the South West of England. She is author of the poetry collection Love and Other Small Wars, published by Words Dance, and also featured in Between Sentiment and Sensation: Vol I, published by Red Paint Hill. She romanticizes cold coffee and bitten nails and she likes her poetry shaken, not stirred.