Monday, February 18, 2013

Not Quite “Purity” But

Unlike the famous poet, Billy Collins,
I attempt to write poetry
in February,
and preferably late at night.

There is no need to place
a rotting fruit on a table
or invoke the spirit of Calliope.
The rotating earth is quite enough
to help me focus on the task.

I begin by writing Someone Else’s Life
on the top of a sheet of paper.
I put an asterisk next to it;
then I try to remember footnotes
of someone else’s past.

I must tell you, I do not remove my clothes
like Billy, for it is much too cold
in my living room. Besides,
I do not write good love poems.

Neither do I remove my skin
or any essential organs.  Instead,
I sit with my body whole, equal
to the sum of its parts,
while reading from my library
of favorite poets to create a reverie –
Collier, Collins, Dickson,
Djanikian and Dunn…

When I feel the pull from the phantom self,
I write lickety-split until I back-pedal
after each spontaneous overflow
to re-read the first draft aloud.
Afterward, I fly fragments of poetry
(airplane style) to every corner of the room
and watch my cat chase after them.

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