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On Poetry

I.
Poems come in rushes
or not at all.

They spill from the souls and pens unbound,
a waterfall of words rushing
down a passage of boulders
In the brain that would trap them
were they too weak,
Those words
Then left tangled and forgotten as something
choked and burned by summer kudzu or
an unrepentant murderous lover.

II.
When the words won’t come
or when they crawl,
disparate phrase by disparate phrase
following on the heels of an
inspired title,
I tire of trying to soothe them into order,
this rascally line of word children.
I let them play,
jottings only,
And the poem breathes,
Shallower
And shallower
Then stills.

III.
I cannot understand the man who,
for weeks has been
“working on a poem”.
You cannot rearrange water
once it has flowed onto a page –
you can only carve ice, but ice
does not curve,
not like liquid words
not like the bending turns of a poem.

IV.
A poem is or is not.
It is born of thought whole,
An Eve from somewhere behind a rib,
A Venus rising from her shell.
A tweak here or there perhaps,
After a night in a soft bed
(Never a refrigerator – too chill)
A cast of shadow caused by altered light
A pearl tucked in a tendril of hair
A wisp of chiffon draped over a bare shoulder –
just so –

But work?
Oh no.
A poem
Is birthed from soul.

June 2020
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