In honor of National Poetry Month, I’m going to continue in the vein of last week’s post and put out some more poem scraps/unfinished work, in an ongoing effort to demystify the creative writing process and champion imperfection.
Here’s something I’ve been working on based on a “contract” I stumbled upon a few weeks ago:
Bus Rules for Myron Milk
I, Myron Mitchell Milk, agree to follow these rules on the bus:
I will not stray from the routine.
I will not get off before my stop to buy orange jellies.
I will not miss my stop because I was dreaming of Chloe with hibiscus in her hair.
I will not snatch the honey from the old lady’s purse and eat it with my fingers.
I will not stare out the window and imagine the moon.
I will not make up tales about a monstrous dog.
I will not beg the passengers to read my hand-drawn comics.
I will not get carried away by the sunset.
I will not sing ballads about the travesty of shoes.
Poor Myron’s draconian, boot-on-his-neck bus contract led me to consider other contracts, both written and unwritten, and what I would agree to:
I will not convince myself the well-heeled lady in line in front of me has a charmed and perfect life. I will not buy a plane ticket to Hawaii without due notice. I will not waste time imagining what could have been, given a different time and different circumstances, but rather will scale the walls of grief with quiet dignity. I will not be branded a nature poet. I will not ignore the length of days or the slow decay of summer. I will not deride the daffodils. I will not accept the first diagnosis. I will not hoard roses. I will not startle the delicate. I will always hold a single grain of salt on the surface of my tongue. I will not romanticize genius.
I jotted down a list of other possible contract poems: Contract with America. Contract with my Makeup Bag. Contract with the Television. Contract with My Soul. Etc. But I haven’t gotten anywhere with any of them yet.
And here are a few final scraps to round out the week:
Things that are hollow: reed and cup
palm and chamber, bone socket, eye
and larynx both. Stray lash, rib of boar,
prophecy. Cone and sternum, stem,
star plate, rosy chant, core of
herringbone, claw of spine.
of sparrows in long descent against the drowning sun
Though Spring this is not
season of sowing. We will have
a long spell in forage, root
our hands in ink pulp for worm
onus , globe omen, worry stone.
Anything luminous. Anything transmutable.
Anything to imitate passions of the heart.
To hold up to a mirror to
angles and map:
The shape of our emptiness.