When Asked About My Creative Process

This is what works:
Lure your poems out of the shadows
With breadcrumbs, cooing softly
At them like some lost baby bird.

Don’t circle them wielding a knife.
Don’t try death threats
And blackmailing.
Refusing to be held hostage,
Gnawing through bars
And raking themselves over barbed wire,
Poems would rather be bloodied and broken
Than trapped down in your cellar.

Don’t try scaring them.
Don’t wave flashlights in their faces
And try to blind them
Into running into your arms –
They’ll grow new eyes
And always colder ones.

Don’t try death and resurrection.
Poems lay limp when you shove
Stakes through their hearts,
Never alive long enough to utter
Insightful dying words.

This is what I’ve learned:
Collect the wood when you find it.
Stand where the sun shines fiercest.
And if – if you can rub stones just the right way,
Build fires.

Then wait to see if any come out of the dark
To huddle around you for warmth.


22 thoughts on “When Asked About My Creative Process

  1. Sweet! My response poem:

    still by candlelight
    four in the morning
    rain-scurried skylight
    remember to breathe

    silent wait for muse

    bastards those bastards
    stood me up again
    tomorrow morning
    still by candlelight


  2. Beautifully poetic advice on poetry writing, and so true! A few nights ago, I hoped to see a shooting star: I thought I might write a haiku on it. But, in your words, I had to collect the wood where I found it, and I ended up with this:

    one fixed star outstares
    the stargazer


    1. Thank you! I treasure comments like these. Sometimes the wood you find is a twig and sometimes it’s an entire log. The important part is getting it back to camp 😉

      I love your non-haiku. I think it’s all the more wonderful for breaking the rules.

Thoughts? I love those.

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