They said it was essential
for a writer to have a substantial platform,
one built high enough to be easily seen
by those passersby who might just give
a passing glance, even if it was a typo
landed them here, updated, regularly
changing with time, tide, and fashion
always ready, always accommodating.
It must be a composite, the better
to handle storms, ill winds lacking
the ennui of winter, curse of summer.
It was no small task to build,
everyone offered plans, templates,
none ever quite right, but he built it,
and when the time came, like most
writers he knew, it would suffice
where they put the noose around his neck
and hung him by his words, his
truth that they came to hate.
I write letters
to dead heroes
beginning each Dear __________:
I apologize for the intrusion
but in your next life
will you do the same,
give up the desk
in the patent office
for dreams of brothers
twins, one moving
one fixed, stand
before a jury, no testament
to the Lower East Side.
I carefully fold each letter
and put on proper postage
but delivery across
the curtain of mortality
is slow and your
responses have not
but I will
continue to write
for there are always
more with whom
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.”
“Suppose,” he says
“words may be used
only once, after that
“You mean in a poem”
she replies, “or life itself?”
Even four stanzas
can challenge most
except perhaps Basho.
Haiku would replace sonnets,
anaphora is self-contradiction.
“Imagine,” the young girl mused
talking heads struck mute,
fighting silent wars,
all poets condemned
to write blank verse.”
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.
All too often it
is just a matter
of tossing words
into the air and wondering
where, or even if,
they land, and if
they do, what we
will find when they
on 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.