Where The Poems Come From

One of the more difficult things I find these days is to write.

I am drinking coffee and beer simultaneously, throwing wrenches in either direction, trying to pull things one way or the other. Someone told me once that vegetables were a much better way to go, but I find that they work for regularity of a different sort.

I am listening to Bonnie Prince Billy's "I Gave You" on repeat. It puts my head inside a poem that almost writes itself in small outbreaks if I don't watch it too closely, but I have the habit of watching what I write.


Bonnie Prince Billy: "I Gave You"

It is as though there are almost words, which is to say that there is almost a concrete thought, which is to say that my mind is wandering through the trenches. Do people still fight from trenches? I think my brain was salvaged from a purveyor of second-hand war paraphernalia.

I used to wear army boots and jackets and shirts with the last names of soldiers permanent-markered inside them in capital letters, and I would wonder if they had died, been promoted, or simply outgrown the clothing through the trials of basic training that came to fit a 130-pound woman in her early twenties.

Poetry is like that. It feels like the words are from somewhere beyond me and are just wandering through. I wonder where they came from and how they are supposed to fit together. I wonder what they saw before that makes them do what they are doing now. They crawl around like little digits that I must add up. They are instructions for building a mail-order bicycle inadvertently delivered to my door.