When You Mean to Write a Poem

It is impossible to write poetry

after you’ve spent the morning drinking

over-compensated, half-decaffeinated coffee

&  held in your breath for three Bukowski poems

in succession;


even when the air & your lungs

are sticky-thick with prose & Cannabis

and your disconnected fingers

scratch all the falling words

onto Post-It-Notes —


(You know they’ve already forgotten

how to become poems.)


It is misery to remember poetry

after you’ve spent the day’s most

worthwhile hours shut inside

with every shade drawn &

every sun-shine-simulation switched on;

with agraphia lounging itself in

a favorite afghan-ed armchair

in the corner of your memory-room

while the wind & snow-rain alternate

their outside alienation & absorption of you . . .


And, of course, it is absurd to want for poetry

while you lie next to him

across the bed in shared exhaustion

with your four legs folding

over the edge like two paper dolls,

collapsed & unimpressed with

the contrition imprinted upon them


so you pull yourself upright, with eyes half-shut,

into water-thundered reprieve

to contemplate the aftermath of bared surfaces

or to manifest some symbol for a cleanness

you cannot possess — —

but it would be sacrilege

to make poetry with any of this;

best to softly dry & dress

those intentions again,


go instead into the kitchen,

rehash the practices of

domestic normalities;

attempt to distract significance

from the temperature of running

dishwater; scalding yourself

for the impatience of your metaphors


still, you’ll spend too long

towel-drying the cups & bowls,

probing for all the waters

that hold themselves

into the hollows of  ridges . . .


then all evening you will sit with your pen,

desperate to convince yourself

a poem is drip-drying from the dishtowel

you’ve left hanging in the kitchen.












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