For some time now, people from different countries have praised the work of CrisClear on WordPress commending the poet on her beautiful work and letting her know how much it has impacted their lives and how relatable it was. Little did anyone know that the poet was Guyanese Crystal Van Doimen.
Poetry began as an outlet for Crystal back when she was attending Queen’s College, a time when she was dealing with being bullied and her first crushes. These were not issues she thought she could have shared with her family, so she put it all on paper.
She had begun by dabbling in stories, since she has always had an imaginative mind, but she did not have the patience for long writings and therefore found solace in poetry.
“Poetry is a part of me and is all about me putting my emotions in writing. It is a really good outlet especially for saying what you need to without offending anyone and sharing with them your point of view,” Crystal said.
Many of her poems speak of love, broken relationships and broken homes.
“I think one of the reasons for me getting into to poetry was because for a long time I was the only child—until I was nine—so in a way I was forced to be imaginative; I was always lost in a book.”
Crystal was always involved at school and church, always participating in one thing or the other and she always had an issue expressing herself; for her the best way to get through it was to put pen to paper. She can sit and write for hours at a time and just recently completed four poems.
Through the years she has come to love the writings of Maya Angelou, whose poems, she said, have a lot emotion in them and target critical issues. “She was a woman who showed that poetry is more than the art and the fact that she was a black woman resonated with me and made me realize that I can achieve anything. To see the difference her words have made and how [they have] impacted people’s lives shows how powerful her poems are. I’ve always been inspired by Rudy Francisco and Subrina Benign. They are my most sought-after poets on YouTube. Subrina deals with poems that tackle mental health and Rudy deals with a lot of emotional poems and about how he resonates with being black in society. Aside from their poems, I also like poems that talk about black culture, police brutality and black oppression; these are what I favour the most.”
At one point, Crystal was contemplating becoming a poet full time, but her father discouraged it, insisting that she pursue another career since he believes that a poet could never thrive in Guyana.
Currently she is pursuing studies towards becoming a physical therapist. However, this does not prevent her from uploading poems to her blog. At present, she has 123 followers. Because she writes so deeply her readers often resonate with her poems. Some find their way into her inbox to let her know how much a poem has impacted their lives. They do not always see her poems exactly for what they stand for and may have their own interpretations, and this helps Crystal to be able to view her own poems from another angle. Many times, persons would interpret poems according to their own current situations. Just knowing that she can make a difference in the lives of her readers makes Crystal feel good about her purpose on earth.
During her teenage days, while going to third form lessons, Crystal ran her poems by a friend—Renata Burnett—who later became a spoken word poet. Today, Renata also runs her poems by Crystal and vice versa.
Renata performs at OMG and other places and has encouraged Crystal to tag along. But although she has been okay with singing or saying someone else’s poem, she is not sure when it comes to hers. The one time when Renata did get Crystal to agree to doing one of her poems at OMG, was the same time the Camp Street Prison was on fire and unfortunately OMG was closed that night. Since then she has written two poems specifically to be done as spoken word: “To The Guy That Likes Me and Not My Black” and “Conundrum”. The first poem speaks of an actual life experience Crystal had. The second poem talks about a guy who makes his girlfriend feel like she was everything to him, yet their relationship was no bed of roses. For Crystal the scenario in this poem reflects the phrase ‘the best of both worlds’. While she had total different meaning for “Conundrum”, many persons interpreted it as referring to a woman caught up in an abusive domestic relationship.
Poetry, the young poet shared, is what she is and anyone who has read one of her poems has had a piece of her. Most of her poems are in raw form. She believes this makes them more impactful. And just like she evolves, so does her poetry.
To aspiring poets she says, “If you’ve watched Finding Nemo and remember the part where Dory said “keep swimming”, that’s how I feel about poetry. Keep writing. Always believe you can; I hate that word ‘can’t’. Express yourself, write about anything, write about everything and don’t try to polish it. Understand that the rawness of your talent is what makes it special.”
Some of her poems are: “I Hate Fairy Tales,” “Wicked Games,” “Emotions,” “Maneater,” “Sun Kisses,” “Stay” and “The Mango Tree”.
“Stay” is one of the more touching of her poems; it shares her pain of losing her brother who only lived for a day. Because her family is mostly girls, they had celebrated when a boy did come along so his passing deeply affected them.
For a read of Crystal’s outstanding pieces, visit her blog on Word Press: CrisClear@wattpad
The Mango Tree
She stood so proudly, ever so beautiful;
A serene angel, sure of who she was,
She towered over me.
Her arms were spread wide,
Stretched high up to the heavens above.
Her green dress billowed,
Swaying ever so slightly to and fro,
Her raspy whisper was carried by the gentle breeze.
In her hands she held golden treasures,
Treasures that made men into wicked boys,
As they tried so hard to climb her glorious perch to savour;
Savour the sweet, succulent, ripened glories
That she would bestow upon them.
She was a beauty to behold,
Strength within her grace.
In my yard, she stood so simply;
My Mango Tree.
The sun gradually sinks beneath the horizon,
With flashing hues of pink and blinding orange,
Swirls of fiery red, a kaleidoscope.
She is serene beauty, majestic queen,
She dips low and burns up like an inferno,
In her haste to meet her lover.
In the moonlight they whisper to each other,
Share passionate kiss after kiss,
Its pure bliss the way in which
They become one in each other’s arms.
She rises lazily each morning wearing her love like a glove.
A beam of yellow exploding into the sky, she smiles.