Tonight when the lights go out
I will do like the sun and slip below
my feet will not kick any longer
nor my arms writhe in the sea
I will not gulp air to keep me
up out of the water
I will stop the noisy Thrashing of my struggle
the Furious churning of my trying
the waves will close over my head
my skin will harden and I will curl tightly in on myself
harder and harder I will become
lighter and smaller as I descend slowly
I will land, softly without a sound
a stone in the sand
I will rest where the current does not play
I will sleep while the moon reaches down
through the waves far above me
and traces the top of my head with silver fingers
No ears to Hear
No mouth to Sigh
No eyes to Cry
No mind to Think
down where no one will find me
This piece was inspired by a recent ride on my motorcycle and a fateful collision. It’s been through several edits already and I am still working out the wording as well as the way it lays on the page. For your reading pleasure, I give you…
There was no gas
in the tank. It was my anger
compressed by the piston
into the cylinder head,
exploding, powering me forward.
I flew down the road on
the motorcycle, bowing into each
curve. A butterfly
lurched drunkenly across my path and
we collided. I felt the tiny body
pelt the Kevlar chest of my
jacket, I glanced down at
the twitching, shattered legs and
crumpled wings, a grotesque sort of corsage,
impaled upon my breast. I looked up to see
the road again, thinking of
the tiny creature’s struggle
to gain freedom from its chrysalis only
to stray into my path. And I felt
no pity, as I rolled the throttle, trapped
within my own cocoon.
A man once asked me,
“How could you want him,
when you know you can have me.”
He spoke through a Spin Doctor
of quasars and Irish mafia
and earned himself a permanent seat
at the table of my love.
The cicadas and katydids call to each other outside my window each night and sleep becomes a dream from cooler seasons. Like politicians yelling across the aisles at each other, they drone on and on until morning. I pull myself from the bed and put on my linen shirt, crisp and bright in May, now wrinkled and limp in August. I slide my feet into sandals which will harbor tiny pebbles to bite at my heels every few steps. I open the door and step out into air heavy and sticky as marshmallow fluff. In my silent car, a hand on the key in the ignition the other blindly groping for the seatbelt, I bow my head, resting it on the top of the steering wheel. Behind my closed eyes, tiny white wisps of crystal sift from a milk-white sky and disappear into the blanket of snow on the ground. Sighing, I start the car and open my eyes to the garish hues of high summer.
I would like to share a piece that originally started here and over the last few months has undergone several edits. If you will recall the post, Grave Call. I submitted a version of this piece for a creative writing class last spring where it was well received. I went back to it this past weekend, after not having touched it since the end of April and reworked it. Funny, I had thought it was finished when it was really in repose. I’m still not sure if it’s done.
It is the fall of 2011
and we are building a chicken coop
for the noisy tenants of the kiddie pool
in our basement
I am sitting
inside this wooden box sweating
the rough plywood floor biting
into my thighs, shiny pink cell phone
holds my mother’s voice and
it is strange to me
I have colon cancer, she says
her voice sounds from far away
Don’t worry, she says,
farther away still,
I’m going to fight it
In the sweltering September heat
my sweat mingles with the
tears on my chin and I look down
at the phone in my leather gloved hand
knowing that she is already gone
It was her ghost
calling from 2014
to tell me so
Guten morgen my darlings,
Today I am dealing with a hangover. Not the excessive alcoholic beverage consumption kind, but rather the kind that comes after a furious stint of creativity. This past week I have been writing poetry. Inspiration seemed to be coming at me from so many different sources. I sat down and worked on several rough drafts to what I hope will end up being polished pieces. I was even drawing a bit. I took a few older poems off the shelf as well and cleaned them up. I have learned that letting my writing hibernate between edits is so important to the finished piece of writing. Anywho…
Inevitably, there comes a point where this creative storm blows itself out and the words make their way slowly to the page. This is where writing becomes work again. Even this blog post seems to be seeing a lot of the Backspace button as I struggle to put my thoughts down. I believe this is where the true writer lives; in this space where effort and art meet. Here, where words don’t come easily and you struggle to put thought to page. Pick up any how-to-write book and inevitably they will all tell you the same thing; you have to put the work in, you have to write when it’s hard.
And it always seems the hardest when you are coming off of a creative spurt. It was so easy last week, yesterday, ten minutes ago…and now it’s gone. The muse has left and you are stuck staring at the page with just your own thick, muddled brain to help you.
Keep writing anyway.
For me, this is always a great time to pull out a piece I haven’t looked at in a while and do some editing. I find it helps me keep my creative fires stoked.
I’m assuming you have a place where you keep your ideas and inspiration, dig something up and have a go at it. It may be slow going, but it’s a start.
Do something else for a bit. Sometimes we need to let our brain stew a bit in the background while we focus on something completely unrelated in the foreground. I find that doing something physical — exercise, cleaning, gardening, etc. seems to help. Whatever it is, make sure you get back to your writing sooner rather than later.
If you show up consistently, the muse will know where to find you.
I am drowning in the poems inside my head
I pull the plug to the drain
and await the flood of words to the page