visual inspiration

Aside from the Twitter poems, I’ve started to use photos that I’ve taken over the years since I got my iPhone and posting them on Instagram and using them as the starting point for a poem. I look at the image and I put together a piece using the elements found there.

Unlike Twitter, Instagram doesn’t have a character count, so I can write the piece as long as it has to be (though I prefer it to be short; made easier by the practice I’ve been doing on Twitter) but this time, it is framed by the photo. The piece has to be related to the photo at hand.

It’s a different kind of exercise, which I’m enjoying, because the inspiration there in front of me and I have to take this image that I’ve actually taken before and use it to fuel a poetic situation and craft a poem from nothing.

From my Instagram, taken and then posted on December 17 heading out to Isla Verde off of Batangas

From my Instagram, taken and then posted on December 17 heading out to Isla Verde off of Batangas

There are no intersections

out in the open sea;

boat’s cross each other’s paths


and without record.


Not all journeys

are marked by footprints;

some are marked

by the waves from our wake.


That piece came to me immediately right after I took it and digitally enhanced the photo with VSCO app. Everything was there. The feelings and the words just came stumbling out from the images right after I took it.

Some other poems didn’t come as easy. I would go through my photo stream and my camera roll on my phone, spot a photo I could use, and stare at it for several minutes until the situation comes and the poem starts to drift to the surface and then I put it down.

It’s great because the image is already there. It’s not something I have to think of and it’s up to me to create the metaphors based on what I see. It’s interesting exercise that I do to see how far I can extend myself and my understanding of the world and of language.

And it’s a great way to keep my Instagram active because, while I do take a lot of selfies, I don’t believe in putting them out or posting them. And I use Instagram to take snapshots of moments or things that I find beautiful. Back when I first got my iPhone, I was into taking pictures of plants and buildings. But now, after Portugal and Madrid and Barcelona, the buildings of Manila just don’t cut it anymore. So I’ve been posting less and less.

I feel this is a nice way to make use of Instagram as a means to help me out in my poetry.



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