Therapy for Writer's Block
Have you tried
to just write from your heart, she asks—
this kind woman with a kind
of light about her. Kind
or not, she doesn't get it; that a poet doesn't
write from the heart. That's the wrong place.
It's a poorly punctuated
mess in there, and you know
what else is in there, too—you don't
want to look, and it would do no good
anyway to open that tacky
white door and have to see
after all these years the dumb and needy
face of that girl you've prudently
stowed like a drooling relative--
that insipid failure, that
weak stalk of an adolescent,
her illiterate past
swimming around her like a brown corona.
lower class voice strangled
with fear of the things your hands do now--
all those words! All those immoral
ideas stamped out all over the page,
things she would never even
think much less say.
You're the paper cutout of a grown-up woman,
cynic, that looms in front of this mutant: no one
suspects that she's behind there. She
is simply what you hide, as habitual as blinking.
There's such as a thing
as too honest; there's some kinds
of shame so stupid
they can't be redeemed with language.
You just don't come right out
and say those things in poems, I explain.
It's the sort of thing that will get you
sneered at by other poets.
And besides, they never publish that kind of stuff.
I pause for a sip of tea.
tears have bloomed in her gentle eyes.
She writes me as I speak.