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On Writing a Poem

On Writing a Poem. (Policar, 2005)

I am standing with a bucket full of words,
into which I cannot see. I reach inside;
they squirm, try to evade me, fear the light.
I pull them out and pin them to the page,
try out their shapes, their textures and their tastes.
I watch them changing color as they dry.

I am floating on a tidal pool of words,
facing the sky. They roll beneath my back.
Beneath them lie the tangled algae strands,
the huddling schools of poet-fearing fish,
soft surfaces of mussels in their shells.

I am drowning in an ocean full of words.
They are the waves that crash into my mouth.
I spit them out and choke, gasping for breath.
They, strong and patient, pull me from the shore.

I am pregnant with a galaxy of words.
They are the suns and planets, dust and moons.
They strive to pull apart and rocket free,
each one in turn betrayed by its own mass,
each one its brothers' captor, trapped in me.

I am a universe composed of words.
They are my ears, my heart, my lungs, my nose,
meat in my belly, lover at my loins,
pins in my eyes, a rag stuffed in my throat.

I am become the shatterer of words.
I am every incantation and lament
The mewling race of man has ever sent
to an indifferent God, and every chant
and song of praise as well, and every speech
that ever stilled a fear or raised a tear
or bought a grieving love a moment's peace.
And through each line pulses a thready beat:
the blood of God and man, with which I write.

I am standing with a bucket full of words
into which I cannot see, before a page
on which I have disgorged a wave of words.
They drip and smear and blur, fall to the ground,
congealed into a sodden mass of sounds
and letters, plastered to a wall.

I am sobbing in a charnel house of words,
soaking my hands in lie to wash off blood
that gushes from my slaughtered victim's corpse
and soaks into the sticky ground and rots.

The bucket goes back to its ancient well,
still choked with dust and mold. I'm done with words,
And know that I'll be back to drink again.



( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 1st, 2005 09:08 pm (UTC)
This is amazing.
May. 2nd, 2005 03:46 am (UTC)
thank you.
May. 2nd, 2005 02:08 am (UTC)
I really love this. I like the way it feels to say it out loud.
May. 2nd, 2005 03:46 am (UTC)
thank you
May. 2nd, 2005 03:17 am (UTC)
Wow. I love it.
May. 2nd, 2005 03:46 am (UTC)
thank you.
May. 2nd, 2005 05:20 pm (UTC)
If anyone ever (again) asks you what it's "like" to be a writer, show 'em this. May I link this to my writing groups?
May. 2nd, 2005 05:22 pm (UTC)
By all means, do.
Although "writing is simple... you just stare at a blank page and concentrate until beads of blood form on your forehead" is pretty good, too, and shorter.
Dec. 23rd, 2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
Just rediscovered this poem whilst going through my [on-line, tagged LJ-]memories.

It's about where I am in the need-to-write-60-poems-in-20-days-or-less madness!
Dec. 23rd, 2009 05:21 pm (UTC)
I've been rereading my poetry and fiction tags a bunch, lately.
The recurring themes intrigue me.
I had pretty much given up on the 100/100 target, but unexpectedly writing thirteen poems on the 18th has gotten me considering it again.
May. 14th, 2005 04:15 am (UTC)
I like that,
the sixth and seventh bits have a definite rythm that cought me, and what feels like, but isn't quite a ryhme scheme. NOt to mention how closely you caught the subject, it made me see things. NOt quite the images you presented, but it brought things forth.
May. 14th, 2005 09:05 am (UTC)
Thank you.
I'm interested in the images you got, if you can articulate them.
May. 15th, 2005 05:28 am (UTC)
Strangely, when it comes to articulating actual images, I get pretty incoherent, but I can try. What i got was mostly emotions, hmm..that and I have trouble seperating things now that they've slipped my memory. I'll give it a shotfor ya though

The first stanza didn't actually show me much, I tend to have trouble dragging images from writing, I generally just feel it

Stanza two hit me, and I could see the algae, but it's kinda like the floater was held captive by it, and at the same time it made me think of sitting in a tree in the wind.

Three was much like one, words on the page turning into more words in my head (Not a comment against you, it's just the way I think)

For the fourth stanza, I don't know if you've ever dreamed of breathing water but I do a surprising amount, and thats what it made me remeber, the feeling of darkness, of being unable to reach the surface. The way it feels in a dream to suck fluid into your lungs and find that while there's no air, your still breathing..what I imagine the mice felt like in an experiment I read about when they were dunked in oxygen-rich fluid.

errr..I should probably stop there as this is fairly long and nonsensical by now..
May. 15th, 2005 05:41 am (UTC)
cool. thanks.
Sep. 25th, 2005 07:40 pm (UTC)
Very vivid. I like the asortment of imagery.

The word you want in the penultimate stanza is "lye", not "lie".
Sep. 25th, 2005 07:49 pm (UTC)
:-) No, actually, it isn't -- I was deliberately going for the pun.
But I appreciate the correction... apparently it doesn't come across.
Ah well.
Sep. 25th, 2005 11:51 pm (UTC)
oh [vulgar] shit that's true, that hurts. You've captured exactly that feeling.

One of my patron deities is Djwty (a.k.a. Thoth), who created the world by speaking the thoughts of Ra into reality. He is the patron god of scribes, married to Truth (named Ma'at), strict, stern, and loving. His standards are high and exacting. I'm still apprenticed to him, still learning, but I feel his hand on my shoulder and know he's proud of my efforts.
Sep. 26th, 2005 02:37 am (UTC)
Jun. 30th, 2009 09:17 pm (UTC)
I had never seen this poem, obviously because you posted it before we met. Having read it, I can see why you are proud of it.

Have you considered attempting to publish any of your poems? I know that's not why you pen them, but still… At least this one and "Fragments" are worthy of publication somewhere, and I suspect several more are.

One criticism—and this is just the pedant in me rearing his head—don't you mean, in the penultimate stanza, "lye" instead of "lie"?

Anyway, bravo! Well done!
Jun. 30th, 2009 09:38 pm (UTC)
I in fact mean "lie", as I'm going for the metaphor/pun there, but you aren't the first person to correct me there.

And thank you!

No, I've never considered publishing. I'm not opposed to it, but I've never cared enough to bother finding out what would be involved.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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