Caution: Writer Stretching
I put aside a work in progress, a manuscript that needs to settle before I can pick it up again. Such an action stirs in me other creative endeavors, because I don't know how to make sense of my life without acknowledging that my heart wants to express. So this week I pulled books down from the shelf: Talking Poetics From Naropa Institute, Volumes One and Two. Underlined and highlighted, dogeared and paper clipped pages that I don't remember reading so many years ago. Evenings at Penny Lane on Pearl Street, listening to fellow students read their work. But in those days, I stuck to prose, trying to find form and structure for all the words and sorrows I'd collected over the years. My first newspaper interview was with the late poet Allen Ginsberg. I bookended that thirty some years later by interviewing Richard Blanco.
I'm looking for something. Grappling with a longing for that feeling of home. With some hesitation, I dip my toe into the deep waters of making a poem. Uncertain and unsure, I whisper to myself, try it anyway. Put it out there. Grow. So, here it is, off the beaten path for me. No real agenda. A poem, inspired by the unlikely events of trash collection. Revealing the extraordinary within the ordinary, that's what Blanco told me about poetry, about art.
As if remembering . . . be fearless. Live creative. Try new things. Enough of the pep talk, just put it out there. Everyone begins somewhere.
thunder in the distance
really just the garbage truck
stopping at each plastic bin
lined up like sentries on the street
rumbling and dumping the pungent smell
of a week’s worth of living
hauled away to a landfill
set free to become something else
rotten compost raising hands
to claim what was deemed useless
by those who think themselves so useful
when it’s really just overcompensation
what if the trucks could
haul away the grief, the anger, the fear
bury it deep underground
to be found long after I was dead
and those feelings couldn’t
bind my heart with knotted shame anymore?
trucks and raging gears
mark each Mondays causing me to ask
am I doing enough?
am I ever doing enough?
before I can answer I throw away more pages
crumpled in the wastebasket fearing the garbage man