Daily Archives: August 1, 2021

An Old Poet Admits It’s Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be

up by five am daily unless there’s
illness or rare refusal. the Work begins 
before coffee, breakfast, or inspiration.

first it’s just me and a shimmer, a pang.
then it’s just me, my pang and/or shimmer,
and blank space, waiting.

inspiration is for amateurs.
the pang is the pain of not writing,
the shimmer? anticipation, joy.

then the poem comes up out of the Work.
no effort is needed until it shows up.
our work only begins after the words punch in.

we wrestle and chip. we form and reform,
seeking the poem the poem insists
on becoming. seeking the writer the poem demands.

do this long enough, often enough, and you become 
immeasurable to others unless you are measured
against your last poem. it has not been long enough

for me. tomorrow it’s back to sunrise
and no inspiration; just
shimmer, pang, and blank space. 

as for satisfaction in the Work? an artist’s statement?
ask me later. ask me later tomorrow, in fact.
prepare yourself for a lie. assume everything said

that is not in the Work
is somehow a lie, just one of those things
left behind after the Work is done.