A POEM A DAY

I'm just happy to be here.

Tag: ars poetica

30/30: AFTER 16 YEARS OF WRITING POETRY, I’VE LEARNED

The poem can wait.
Living is the first draft to master.
Sitting down to write comes later.
A poem happens out of order,
When the door is ajar and the
Muse is asking what is for dinner.
Whether the stove is on depends
how much fire you can walk through.
Memories are sleeping, hungry giants.
You decide what stays, what goes.
The point is—
you have a purpose,
long after the poem is finished,
long before the poem began.

 

3/30: A poem, with light at the end of the tunnel

Sitting down to write always feels like

giving my memory the keys to the house.

As if, somewhere the real me ends,

And the narrator’s monologue begins.

A voice takes over, calls out from the dark.

A shape takes form, casts a shadow on the page.

A line takes time, craves a place to breakdown.

How I get from here to there is a gateway

only language can open. Afterall, language

is memory, is past tense, as in, the door to yesterday

unlocked. Ring the bell and walk in.

This is the tell, not show. I know

the words to this song. It’s a strange chorus,

but the one I know. Sitting down to write,

I don’t need a map. A path is found in every poem.

I suppose it’s why I let the mind wander like it does.

Dig myself a tunnel. Find light at the end.

26/30: ARS POETICA OR IF YOU ARE HUNGRY, HERE IS A POEM

Surrounded by cedar, magnolia, and oak trees
I’m standing inside a library
explaining myself to strangers, again
asking folks to walk into my poems
and sit down in the middle of
any sentence they like,
asking folks to dig in to my
heart of disaster with knife and fork,
and see how I still taste like joy.

How did I get here? Mostly?
By listening
By asking questions
By showing up
By staying
By writing
By trying
By writing
By trying

A poem isn’t a prop, a ploy, or a toy
It is a bridge
It is a seed
A poem begins and once it’s over,
it still never ends

Words, precious words, please
remember me as I am:
Lying among the tall-grass
of language
as the fire flies
ignite the next word
I am going to write
Every night
I am blinded by so much flickering light
I chase a poem across a page and
suddenly I hear my voice on stage,
or in my kitchen, or in my car,
or in the living room, or this library
where all I do is carry
the story of my life,
and ask if you’d like
a bite.

14/30: ARS POETICA

I laugh like salsa kisses
My echo is everywhere
I talk like water goes
My voice is survival
I kiss like a cemetery holds
My mouth is a lousy mausoleum
My poems are the flowers
I bring when I forget how to sing
When the dead weeds of my deeds
need to be pulled up, a poem is a
palm in the soil. Does poetry excuse
my dirty hands? All I ever loved
was to try to help everyone, except
myself. Some mornings, the poet
pretends he is a boy again,
watching his words
escape like balloons
he wants to trade in
for hope.
If it comes down to it,
I may say yes to silence.
Most days,
I smile like my poems try to forget.
So I write to leave the door open.

6/30: IF YOU CHANGE ONE LETTER

If you change one letter,
lonely becomes lovely.
When I say cast a spell,
I want you to misspell
the ugliest word
you have called yourself.
Misremember its parts,
take power by the syllable
Grab a letter by its throat.
Every word ever spoken
stays invisible unless written.
Name the shadows in the dark.
Pick your tongue up like an ax.
No, your tongue is an ax.
No, your tongue is a tongue.
Sling the word you have reshaped.
If you change one letter,
wanting becomes waiting.
If you add one letter,
heart becomes hearth.
If you add one letter,
star becomes start.

The beginning is always like this,
metamorphosis through addition,

Listen, each word nothing more
than invention, invocation, invitation.

Again, again, again, my tongue spins
a sentence, a spool of creation,

Silkworm imitation.

Yes, your tongue is silk with blood
Alive with the words you’ve drug
through the mud of love, erasure
is a patient process.

A word, like any earthly body,
must erode, if only to grow again,

Must end in flames, if only to begin.