Creativity is a terrible thing,
When it gets you in its clutches.
It won’t let you sleep, rest.
It jerks you awake,
Kicks you out of bed,
And before you know it
You’re at the keyboard
At 3 a.m.
Belting out a poem
Belting through the bleariness
To get it down
Then head back to bed
Where it starts again
The brain twitch, the jerk,
The plummet into wakefulness.
You don’t even make a living out of it
But it’s the way you’re living
The gift, equal curse
But when that sweet chariot swoops you up,
Oh the rush, the voltage,
You’d trade your grandmother for it
Were she still around.
What’s the first word you’re going to forget? The first word that’s going to slip through the sieve in your brain?
The name of your partner, child, grandson?
With me it was an item of food.
A breakfast food we eat once a week on Wednesday. I knew it began with ‘c’ and that it was a French-sounding word like ‘croutons’ but it wasn’t that.
I could have asked my partner but I didn’t want to embarrass myself.
I did not want to acknowledge that ‘the forgetting’ had begun.
Then after a week it came to me in a flash, like the click of a thumb. I wrote it down on a pad with a marker pen just in case but I needn’t have bothered.
Now I enjoy my croissants that little bit more.
I don’t know whether you noticed but when I write a poem I slam it down on the page still white –hot from the cauldron of creation. Only when it cools do I see its cracks and imperfections. This may take minutes, more often hours, sometimes days. One poem took me nine years to write. There’s still a few I’m working on from twenty years back.
Those of you who see the still molten post will be surprised when you see the reworked version solidifying into its present state. Yes, you should edit. The trick is not to edit out the primal energy which birthed the poem.
when I go off the rails
I’ll eat strawberry flan and chocolate cheese cake
wear my slippers to the shopping mall
my pj’s to the mail box
play my beethoven string quartets real loud like I did
my elvis records when I was fifteen
when I go off the rails I won’t be nice to mr fydler
just because he’s a senior
nor put the tv down when my kids ask me to
nor empty the dishwasher when
I don’t eat home at night
when I go off the rails
I’ll leave my newspapers just where I’ve read them
blare my horn all morning just to let my neighbors know
I’ve got one too
say what I really get up to when I “ go for a walk “
change my pass word on the internet so my brother-in-law
can’t sneak on
and when I go off the rails
like tootle the train engine
in the meadow
I hope no one puts me
back on track
I wrote a poem once about a bath.
How you emerge from one
‘rosy-skinned and luminous as if
Fresh from a voyage’.
I had a sleep like that last night and wrote this poem.
You’re a writer.
You wake up with something to say.
Already you feel the wind beneath your wings.
You hop into your little plane
And putter up into the sky
Where you write your happy haiku
Before the breeze blows it away.
I wish I could pop it in a bottle
This morning’s high clear chortle
And unstopper it when I’m low.
Such unhindered melodies
Hint of secret ecstasies
That we barely come to know.