Start with topic: I chould choose
to write about that time I escaped
my office by smashing the man
who was trying to push down

my pants with a telephone, or
about the boy so long ago, I could
choose a more consistant muse,
the knife, the pain, the food. I could
write about anal sex, or street sweepers,
or about kissing girls in church nursery rooms.

After choosing what to write
about comes the tricky part:
discovering the words the phrases
that make up that thing that I don’t
yet know I wanted to say.


I told you once, I’ve learned
to shut up
and lay low, everything will work
out without me. I’ve learned


to wait
until late, write
a poem. Shut up.
Lay low. There was no one
to call, the button

on the phone didn’t work – the words
I never used to defend
myself. Why didn’t you
believe me? Why didn’t I
remember then, when you
taught me this – the words
I still can’t say about him.

It’s still here, still looming, I use
it too. Its an addiction one cannot
escape like booze – the words that echo.
The things that aren’t
supposed to feel ok always do – the words
of the body.


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5 responses to “Write

  1. This made me smile this morning.

    “discovering the words the phrases
    that make up that thing that I don’t
    yet know I wanted to say.”

    My favorite part.

  2. Interesting, Laura zeroed in on some lines that jumped out at me too. How you explore the process of writing and memory here is very powerful.

    And I was just wondering today about how other people write poems. Do they already have the feeling, story, or images all formed like jelly, and then give them form on the page?

    Or is it a msytery until the words come out of the body, as this poem seems to say?

  3. polkadotwitch

    i can’t help but think about the looming. still looming.

    i agree with laura, though, that the line about things we don’t yet know we want to say really standing out!

  4. This reminds me of how I write — often starting out with nothing but the urge to write from somewhere. This really makes me think. Such honesty here. Impressive.

  5. Thank you all.

    I honestly figure out my world by writing. My process has pretty steadily been the same for years. Pick a topic and explore the world thru it.

    I’ve been thinking about process and meaning a lot lately. I have a reading at the end of the month (ghasp!) and when I started to compule my set list, I noticed that all of the poems had really, really dirty titles. I mean, “this is a poem about fisting”?! Come on. However, I do tend NOT to write gratuitous sex.

    I’ve come to think of the sex in my poetry as being a metephore through which I explore my world.

    So, in other words, I come up with zany things, like “hey, i should write a poem about anal sex” (which, by the way, I really should) and then the poem gets all deep from there.

    I’ve also been thinking about this stuff because of writing my theory on poetic colaboration. But that is for another post…

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