The words did not flow easily this week.
I could blame that on a lot of things, if I wanted to. Things like stress over Thursday's book signing, or lack of time due to house-cleaning and desk-organizing. But none of those excuses would change the fact that sometimes writing is just really, really, really hard.
There's no magic potion you can drink to stir the words inside you. There's no spell that will perfectly arrange them on the page. Sometimes you just have sit there, writing and deleting the same line ten times, twenty times, one hundred times. Sometimes you have to sit in a pile of crumpled drafts that don't feel right for one reason or another.
At Thursday's reading, someone asked me how I deal with Writer's Block, and I told them this: I don't believe in Writer's Block. It doesn't exist. I believe in good writing days, and hard writing days. This week just happened to be a string of hard days, and I'll have plenty more like it. And while these seven pieces may not have poured out of pens like I wanted them to, I'm still pleased with them. I fought for them. Got mad at them. Twisted and re-worked them and deleted them and re-wrote them and got a finished products that, honestly? Aren't half bad. I worked for these pieces, and for that, I'm immensely proud of them.
And now, with all that said, I give to you: A Year in Poetry 2018: Week Two!
PHANTOM PAIN | January 8
I read somewhere that amputees can still feel their missing limbs; legs in pain, and fingers aching, when there is nothing left to feel. Because the brain knows what should be there. What should exist in that hollow space. And the brain wants the body to be whole. And in its desperation to finish the puzzle of us, it aches for what is missing.
Nerve-endings weeping for what is gone. Extensions of themselves long-severed, vanished now. And without time to grieve. Whole in one moment, tattered ribbons the next.
That is what each day feels like, without you in it. Phantom pain in every space you left behind.
BREAK-UP POEMS | January 9
I write break-up poems for feelings I don’t want anymore,
for the grief that raised me,
and the sorrow that still lingers,
and the loneliness left in the wake of other people’s footsteps.
I say goodbye to feelings like they’re ex-boyfriends,
but feelings are not people
and they don’t walk away.
CELESTIAL | January 10
You were born inside a star.
Fell to earth clinging to the coattails of a comet, dropped with a splash in the sea,
and the moon looked over you
as you passed a night cresting waves,
arms and legs aflutter in a frantic flurry
to make your way to shore,
and you dripped stardust on the sand,
and the waves pulled them back, sank them into the depths
of the ocean that caught you, cradled you, carried you
to this new place that you’ll call home,
but darling I see your eyes raised to the sky each night
and I see the longing in them, as you watch your
brothers and your sisters up there in that vast and endless
velvet blue; and the moon, she sees you, too
and I think sometimes she whispers to you
but you are too caught up to hear
the well wishes she sends, and the promise to one day
sail you home.
FORGETFUL | January 11
I feel you slipping like sand between my fingers, or ash into the sea,
and with each grain I lose the fissures in my heart spread like spiderwebs; this organ inside me, desperate and aching, longing to touch you
just one more time. And the beach is frozen over now, with snow and ice and gulls long flown away to a warmer place, and I watch the last of them and think that they’ve forgotten me
as I’ve forgotten you. Not forgotten in the sense that I have slipped their minds, but in the feeling that something used to be there,
and now it’s not.
IN THE MORNING | January 12
In the morning
we will be
tousled sheets and hair all tangled,
sleepy sighs and cups of coffee
weighted by too much sugar.
And maybe then, we will talk.
Maybe then, we will crack each other’s ribs
and find what beats beyond
the hum-drum, day-to-day,
nice-to-see-yous & have-a-good-days
into our vocal chords.
WORDS | January 13
There are days when words come slowly,
drip like a leaky tap,
one after the other in an
and I catch them in bowls
set in the sink,
to the coiled pipes that rattle and shake
and heave to push them out
with duct tape
One day I will make oceans of these moments.
THERE IS SOFTNESS IN ME YET | January 14
There is softness in me yet,
bruised as it may be,
for safe keeping,
wrapped in scar tissue
and affirmations I didn’t believe
until mere days ago,
and it will take time
I have only rusted tools
to crack this surface,
which has been cracked so many times before;
to dig something good,
out of this hollow.
And it will take time
this softness stashed inside me.