Daily Archives: September 29, 2016

How This Poetry Thing Works

“Splashy examinations.”

First words encountered upon waking. 

Splashy examinations?

Maybe a misheard radio announcer? Maybe
a band name? Maybe it was something
entirely different
and the daffiness of those words
is in fact indicative
of some lost acuity
between the ears?

Sit with those words a bit. 

The work clearly ahead
is to take those two words 
for a ride.  Get on them and decide
on a direction they might be going
and go there.

Maybe there won’t be a path.
Maybe such passage as they demand
will require fire and sword. Maybe 
it will be all about going back to school, 
or about plunging into despair. Perhaps

that plunge into despair will make
a splash

and the subsequent need to 
describe the height of the water
rising as it is displaced by the plunge
will lead to a meditation in which 
the weight of the aforementioned despair
is examined

and that
will explain everything — 
that would be a splashy examination,

Maybe it will work, maybe
it won’t.  Maybe it will be 

perfect and save a life or
the world, maybe it will be 
forgotten. Maybe it’s already

being forgotten, sinking 
noiselessly into a deep lake.

Maybe it required more
than the poet could give
and the poet sat with it for so long
that it became a source of despair:

those baffling words, the anxiety 
of missing the God therein,
the near-certainty
that something had escaped —

sitting with all that
heavy within
like a damned, dry stone.