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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Delicious Work

It started with a new journal, and yesterday's mushroom post. In the front of the journal (which is covered in brown paper) I made six lists. One of them was called

Some First-Semester Goals:

- to journal every day
- to run every day
- to keep the apartment clean
- to stay on top of my homework
- to publish another poem
- to put out Tom-Tom #8
- to reach 35 sales on Etsy
- to do 10 push-ups in a row
- to brush my teeth 2x every day
- to finish the first draft of the sea-monkeys story
- to stay out of debt
- to get straight A's
- to keep my journals neat

And then I wrote, not trying to force out a poem, or anything else. I just wrote. About my day. About my knotty emotions. Only afterwards, at two in the morning, did I pull out a stack of notes that was stubbornly refusing to come together, and I finished a first stanza I began this spring.

Much later on Monday, while I was posting the fungus photograph, I decided it needed a description. I wrote one, something like this: "They popped out like a cancer, showing their fists and their organs. Frightening how they suddenly appear fully formed, deeply rooted, and with shockingly extensive networks." An hour later, I divided the description into some lines, hardly thinking about these facts:

1) I have not spontaneously written a poem in over ten months.

2) I have not published anything in over a year.

I edited the lines seven (edit: eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, FIFTEEN, SIXTEEN) times more, one or two words at once. I added a title. This morning I have this:


The fungus

pops out like a cancer
showing its fists
and its organs

appears in a fine form
spreading its legs
its lurid networks



which is not my best work, but is a fleshed-out poem, with its own form and metaphors. Lately I keep saying "I'm back" -- but it's true every time. I'm back again. I feel wonderful.

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