‘drunk on 4 am’ is actually my newest poem. I don’t write poetry often, and I have to be in a particular mood when I do. ‘drunk on 4 am’ describes that mood, I think.
A couple of weeks ago, I woke up at 4 am after only sleeping for about 3 or 4 hours. Sometimes I get this, and I don’t know if any of you other writers do too, but once I wake up at such a strange hour, I can’t get back to bed, and I’m usually abnormally creative.
This hasn’t happened to me in a long time. In fact, it hasn’t happened since I was a freshman during my undergrad. At the time, I was taking medicine that really messed with my sleeping habits, so I’d sleep early evening and wake up late at night, around midnight or so.
This particular night, I was up until about 11 AM – way later than my usual pass-out time of 8 AM. I remember not knowing what to do with myself. Then I found something – out of nowhere came a snippet of a line: ‘burned sienna’. I slammed out verses on my laptop’s keyboard, and the result was something I was immensely proud of at the time: a free verse poem called ‘Channeling Mother Nature’.
Anyway, the reason I’m telling this story is because it essentially mirrors what happened to me a couple weeks ago. I woke up, feeling energised and wide awake, without a clue of what to do. Then out of nowhere came a line: ‘drunk on 4 am’.
Just like ‘Channeling Mother Nature’, I was so proud of it at the time, only to find it didn’t look so great in the morning light. The titles of both poems are the oldest clichés in the book; some of the lines are trying too hard. But nevertheless, this is what my mind looks like at 4 am. It’s strange, it’s weird, and it’s not very good – but these 4 am poems always have a lesson to teach me.
More importantly, they always carry with them a reminder that being a writer is not all polished manuscripts and acceptance letters from publishers. Sometimes it’s #BadPoetry, sleepless nights, handwriting you can’t read, and the feeling that you’re the craziest person on the planet. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
(And yes, just in case you were wondering, ‘Channeling Mother Nature’ is gonna be next week’s #BadPoetry. How could it not?)