Daily Archives: August 24, 2014

Wordplay

Originally posted 3/1/2010.

You create a new word
right after dinner
and send it out to play.

It begins with a “C” and starts out strong
but soon trips over its own round foot
and falls down the stairs. . 

You bend to pick it up
and cradle it to your bosom,
rocking it while it weeps.

You change it into something
that begins with “E.”
And at once it’s all better.

Isn’t this fun? Creating new words
that mean nothing, do nothing
until you give them voice?

You can’t even pronounce these things.
Still, they’re alive because you breathed them.

It’s a nice power to have.

You can do this as well, you know,
with those you claim to love —
say their names as if you were in charge,

re-spell everything that has hurt them,
change the names themselves
if they carry too much weight.


If the only safety you can offer
is to give them new names

in a language you don’t know 

you learn that tongue as fast as you can,
practicing the words
when no one can hear you,

because love
is language 
invented
and held in secret


until you know
with whom
you are meant to speak.


On The Muse As Sadist

Originally posted on 9/10/2006.

I was sleeping,
joyfully dumb and numb,
when you insisted
I get up and talk to you. 
I’ve turned on the laptop.

What now? 

Offer me something — a hint,

a sign, even a direct question —
and I’ll snap to it. 

Give it to me quickly if you can
and if you can’t
let me get back to sleep.

I’ll do everything I must tomorrow —
earn a living, 
make friends, 
save myself — 
and after that, I promise
I’ll come back to you 
and take down
everything you tell me. 

I’ll be all yours

tomorrow night
if tonight you will let me sleep —
there are things
more important than poetry, 
in case you haven’t heard.

But of course,
you haven’t heard.
There’s nothing else to be done, so
I give up.

My hands are on the keys.

I’m as angry with you 
as I am breathless 
to find out what it is 
that you want.