Daily Archives: March 27, 2014

Advice For Young Writers

your favorite writers

will always tell you
if you’re going to be a writer
you must write

will always tell you
to write all the time

because they claim they did

and you
(following along in their wake
like sweet little sleep deprived interns
in the Hospital Of Broken Hearts)
ought to damn well
do the same

your favorite writers
are going to tell you to write
every day
tell you to churn
thirty poems in thirty days
or a novel in a month
because that’s how it works
when the Fire
is on them

that’s how the poor slobs
got to be your favorite writers

that’s how they got to be famous
one month of crazy at a time
at most for a few months at a time
and voila
the New Hotness
doth arrive

your favorite writers will tell you
all sorts of things
to disguise the fact
that they don’t have a clue
as to how this works

they assume
cause and effect
because to assume otherwise
is to make a case
for genius werewolves
vampire ghosts
and sentient zombies

if your gut tells you
the best thing for your writing
is to take a month off
or square your taxes
to screw your neighbor hugely for hours at a time
or walk your mother in the park
to watch a lot of television
and drink

you owe it to yourself
to try that

when I look at my favorite writers

I see more of that
than the cold and sober work they prescribe
and upstarts

formulas are for chemists and physicists
writers suck at them mostly
write when you want
how you want
where you want

my beloved interns
get some sleep
this ain’t life and death

no matter how it feels
in the moment

no matter how it feels
in the long haul

That’s What They Say

They say:

over there,
is an ancient road
laid down upon
a meridian,
perhaps along
a ley line
long ago —
its surface
now piecemealed by frost
over time,
that steady damage punctuated
with divots torn
by occasional cannonballs.

Where it goes,
where it comes from;
which end is origin, which
can’t tell those things
from standing
on its injured pavement,
somewhere between.

Picking a direction
and traveling along it,
mindful of holes and cracks
and of a potential, sudden,
fatal blow
from one projectile
or another:  
even risking life
and sanity
to walk it
is no sure way to learn
about this road,
but it’s all they can do
so they do.

At least,
that’s what
they say;

then again,
they’re sitting here
safely in front of us
and can only give 
vague directions
as to exactly 
where that road
might be.