Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Used To

I used to wear pink. 
Now I wear red.

Like a leaf 
no longer hiding,

Like a silent 
solid yes.

I used to hang 
on others' ideas;

now I make 
my own. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Why You Write

You write because you’re alive. 
Because your brain is a singular specimen, 
but your heart’s on loan from humanity at large. 

You write to pick a lock. 
You write to go somewhere green. 
You write because the battle between the heart and the head 
can be a silent, choking civil war. 
You write because it’s the one worth fighting, 
on all the days. 

You write because for too long, you’ve been ashamed 
of the gap between the person you are 
and the person you were supposed to become, 
and the words are, if not a bridge, 
then a photograph 
in which the other you grows blurrier 
by the sentence, the paragraph, 
the story, The End

You write because you’re a narcissist. 
You write because you’re self aware.   

You write because sometimes you surprise yourself with the things you say. 
And other people seem surprised by them, too. 
And in the exchange of that shared surprise comes another flash of sparks: 
you are part of a chain reaction dating back to the Phoenicians, 
a small, if vital component in a rolling caravan of readers and writers, 
all hijacking the highways of literature’s nervous system, 
with no horizon line in sight. 
And if Shakespeare excites the highest hymns,
an individual’s response can still evoke the infinite. 
And hey—remember—you’re alive and Will’s not. 

You write because you are humbled in the sharing, 
made more by the transfusion. 
You write because your ego is often skidded, but never fully squashed. 
And eventually, when your skin has thickened
into a callous-like armor threaded through with rejection, 
you write for something more than validation. 
You write—God help you—for truth.  

You write because clarity is the golden ring. 

You write because clarity is always somewhere else. 

You write because you don’t know what you believe 
until you set it down. 
And even then, it takes endless trying 
to set it just so.   

Right before it topples in on itself. 

So yes. You write as prelude to revision. 
You erase and rewrite because you can no longer pretend to be like Hemingway, bleeding through his perfect typewriter in that perfect Paris 
of a perfect past which no one was ever, actually, part of. 
So you write until the hemorrhage has a form. 
A body. 
Until it pumps with atomic precision.  
As something apart from yourself. 
Character. Story. 
With great mounds of flesh on its bones. 
And later, less. 

You write to be reborn. 
You write, you write, you write. 

You write because even a poem 
composed on a napkin
isn’t worth the cost of a drink
unless it’s got some iron and oxygen 
blacking its ink.  

You write because the words are there, waiting on you.
You fail to write when the fear blocks your way. 
You write blind—and deaf—to meet the words halfway.  

You write because you want to live forever, and you’ve concluded 
there’s no other way, shoddy consolation that this is.   

You write to beat back the sameness of everyday life, 
no matter how nearly perfect, or almost empty, life is. 
You write to keep a child’s vision. 
You write to play.  

You write because words are your oldest and dearest friends. 
And sometimes, when you put them together 
in the most friendly fashion,
they burst into song. 
Or even keep you up at night. 

You write because you wouldn’t have it any other way. 

I should know. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


You are an old soul masked
in an adolescent's body

ripping off the pages
of a recycled diary

and setting them 
to flame

Before tossing the ashes
in the eye of a lake

and whispering your psalms
through the pine-bitten dawn

That Time is a phoenix 
with unfathomable wings

and we are the chlorophyll
draining its veins