The history of modern literature,
at least to those who purport to create
it, is inextricably tied up with technology.
The quill and inkwell ceded only
reluctantly to the fountain pen and ballpoint.
Foolscap was affixed to corkboard
by countless pushpins, but one wasn’t
a teal writer until one stuck in the sole
of your foot as you wandered in the dark
in search of a pen in the night while
trying vainly to cling to a thought that only
moments before had dragged you from sleep.
We have progressed far, the pen falling away
beneath the great weight of the keyboard,
paper now a wrapping for electronics
which now serve as both paper and book.
many are no longer writers at all, dictating
words which appear on the screen, the machine
at once editor and publisher and bookstore.
And we know the day is approaching when
voice and hand will cease to be tools, when
mere thought will be the poet’s task, and reading
will be a lost skill, something the ancients did
when they still had poetry and literature.
First appeared in Erothanatos, Vol. 3, No. 3, July 2019 at Pg. 41
My shelves grow heavy
with volumes of words
I wish I had written, neatly
bound up in books
that stare at me, at once
bidding me welcome
and challenging me to enter.
One shelf is set aside
for books of pages,
blank, on which I have written
each day now for three
and a half years, words
I did write which, on rereading,
I often wish I hadn’t.
I could write in pencil
erase later in the face of regret,
but the pen seals failure
and, I am sure, helps build
character, which I have in excess
There is one thing a poet hates
more than a page
that refuses to be filled –
it is coming across words
or are sworn
I had a pen
I truly loved
until it announced
early one morning
it was taking
of iambic celibacy.
Poems once pregnant
As I turned
from Erato’s altar
she called after me,
is out of ink.”
Writing is an art form
that very many never see
but the unseeing of the work
is what elevates it to art.
This is what you often hear
from the unpublished, or even
from the denizens of small
press purgatory, the one
the Vatican will never acknowledge,
for the poets corner of heaven
is so deeply hidden away.
The words on the page
know better, they see the beauty
as they tumble from the pen,
and need no confirmation.
She says she sees
the whole book
in her head
before she kills it
putting pen to paper.
It is there, she says
where it dies
immovable on the page.
I invite the words
onto the page as well
and hope they take a life
of their own
expressing my intentions
if not my thoughts
which evanesce before
they quickly evaporate.
He says he has discovered that the best
way for him to write is to ignore the pen
totally, to just let it lie on the desk doing nothing.
It should be in close proximity to paper,
for pens need that to complete their existence
or at least to give them purpose to go on.
He also needs to avoid the siren’s call
the emanates from the keyboard
far too frequently for his taste.
No one is willing to believe him, “Just write,”
they say, but he knows that words
are merely that, and meaningless without
the context only a reader can provide,
even if that reader is he, and so he stares
at the pen and page and in time
he becomes aware that the pen is ready
and then, and only then, does he allow it
to move his hand across the paper.
Then there are the days
when extracting words
feels like extracting teeth,
and there is no Novocaine
for either my pen or me.
If you hear a scream,
just ignore it please,
it is only the agony
of a poem’s death throes.