Posts Tagged ‘writer’s block’



This morning the new kitten played with a hair tie

for twenty minutes, kicking it under the table,

swatting it across the room, catching it on a nail

and tossing it into the air. Meanwhile, I tried

to do the same thing with an idea—tried

to bat at it, swipe at it, fling it across the room

and then chase it and pounce on it again.

But that’s not what happened. The idea

sat dead on the desk. I barely even looked at it.

I let my paws make tea instead. And then

went to Facebook. Then vacuumed the room.

Then stared at the idea and wondered why

it hadn’t moved. Boring idea. Dumb idea.

Why did it just sit there, lifeless as a hair tie?

Eventually the kitten, exhausted from frolic,

curled down for a nap. I sat back in the chair,

wondered at what I might learn from the cat.

Picked up the idea again. Gave it a whack. And darned

if it didn’t take on some life as my nose

nudged it into new places. Curious, my whole body

readied to pounce, my tail swishing behind my back.


*Yes, friends, we’ve gotten a new kitten, Tamale.

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I spent them all,
every single pretty word
I’d meant to give to you,
spent them on the moon,
on a dozen dozen flowers,
on the long drive home,
but I did show up with
these lips and all
this extravagant silence.
I wonder what else
might happen?

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She is still sitting there at the green counter top.
Her white screen is still blank. In the last 14 minutes,
I’ve seen her type and delete a few words at least nine times.
I don’t think she has ever ironed that dress she is wearing.
Oh! Look! She got up and walked to the fridge. Got out
the eggnog. Ah, and the Southern Comfort. Swirling them
together in a glass. Gosh, her shelves sure are a mess.
Oh, some nutmeg on top. Nice touch.
Must be stiff, that drink. She winced a little before she smiled.
Okay, and she’s back to sitting down at her blank screen.
Twisting her hair. Nope. Chin in her hands.
Poor thing. I’ve gotten all my laundry folded, my dishes done,
my shelves organized and my windows washed
and all she’s managed to do is delete and get a drink.
Wait, is she typing? Yes. A couple lines, a stanza break,
and she’s going into the next couple lines, no, no,
her right pinkie finger is going for the delete button again …
and she’s up. Looking for something in the cupboard.
Potato chips. The kind with ridges. Is she really going to eat
that whole bowl? She didn’t even look at the nutrition panel
to see how many calories and how much sodium there might be
in those, what, five servings? And she’s about to sit, wait, no, that’s it?
The show is over? Some eggnog, some chips and a whole
lotta blank? Dang, I can’t wait to tune in tomorrow.

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Some days we can’t find
the poem, at least not
the one we want to write,

the one about purple wisteria,
for instance, or the one
in which the raven appears

a sign that magic is present. Instead
the poem waits to be found
on the back of a paint sample card

or it’s cracked inside a blue glass ball.
You can glimpse it, there!
and it’s beautiful, dewy, but when

you find the pen, the poem
is as missing as the tin man’s heart.
Each time you get close,

it dives into the swimming pool,
though there is no diving allowed.
It tells you there is no happy hour

on Saturdays. It invites you to a dance party,
only you don’t have a car and it is much
too far away to walk.

For a moment, the poem was
a red tailed hawk, but the circles
it made were too high to read.

For a moment, the poem
pulled like turquoise wool
through your fingers, but then

every turquoise stitch you knit
uncounted itself and unraveled.
It is hard not to think it’s something

you’ve done. It is hard not to think
you’ve let yourself down, or even worse,
that you’ve let down the poem.

I’m here, you say, to the air, to the hawk,
to the purple wisteria blooms.
I’m here, you say to the raven, the road runner,

the blue, blue glass of the blue glass ball.
But you’re too in the way, and the more you try
the more it’s like trying to catch a cat that knows

you want to clip its claws.
And the poem slips out of the dragonfly wings
you found on the path this morning,

and it steals the silver from the nightshade leaves
beside the Rio Grande, and it walks out of the room without you.
Even it doesn’t know where it is going.

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