There are a few topics that just about every writer writes about in some form or another, be it a blog, a poem, or a story. I call them write of passage topics. One of these is the "I am" poem. Another is the oh-so ironic poem about writing a poem. And of course, you have your poem about writer's block. I actually have a couple of these. I will probably also have some future blog posts about this dreaded topic.
My favorite poem about writer's block was written a few years ago. I wasn't in a complete block, but was going through a pretty rough time in my life. It was extremely difficult for me to focus on my novel, because I was working on a near-final draft (is any draft ever really final?), so it required a lot of mental concentration that I just didn't have in me at the time.
I was involved in an online writer's group. There I met a man named Dave, who became a bit of a mentor. One night I had a dream about him where he was following me around chastising me about how messy my desk was and how I was not going to get any writing done if I did not re-organize my writing space. The dream was so wacky that I decided to write a poem about it. I shared it online, and Dave got a kick out of it. The website no longer exists, so the poem is no longer up. Until now. I've decided to share it, because it was fun to write. I hope you enjoy. Feel free to share if you do.
(By the way, I suppose it is important to have well-ogranized writing space.)
A Writer's Walk
Cursor on a snowy void.
It hypnotizes my brain,
Blanks out my thoughts.
Writing by candlelight
Serves to stir my mind
But tonight the stale smoke
Stagnates my senses,
Stills my fingers,
Stains my eyes as they stare at scratchpads,
Character sketches, notes, outlines
Everything I can’t put onto the page.
Cursors, candles, and cauldrons
Drizzle red wax onto my desk.
Blood dribbles from my fingertip
Onto the picnic table
Whose rusty nail
Diced my appendage.
Streetlights under a starry sky
Dimmer than the full moon
That isn’t a moon at all
But the gleaming bald head
Of the beaming man
I’ve come searching for.
Revered, renowned, respected.
Amateurs flock to this master of words.
Surely he can undo my block.
But his indigo bowtie
And single salmon sock
Send me into shock.
I’m forced to ponder his mental stock.
I watch his every move
With the eyes of a hawk.
He hoards my notepads and laptop
Scolding me for my lack of organization
Which led to lack of motivation
Which surely slows my story’s ambition.
If I’m going to write for a spell
I must first write a spell,
So he leave’s me alone in a silent hell of
Tattered picnic benches and trees
That will never be made into my books.
But I’m not alone.
I’m surrounded by those I knew in another life.
Those who mocked, taunted, and flaunted
Their good looks and lack of book smarts.
They throw an impromptu party
With hearty laughs and grills
Where they cook giraffes.
Here comes The Cheerleader
The Homecoming queen.
Now a Working Girl
“The lavender penguin croaks at dawn,”
She says, through yellow teeth and cracked lips.
“You must do as he says by dawn.
Do as he says, do as he says.”
I turn away from her to find the boy
The one with the glasses
The one with the runny nose
The one who played with matches.
He still carries a book across his lap.
His voice still squeaks like a rodent.
He questions my marital status while
The dome-headed man with the gold beard
And emerald polk-a-dot bowtie
Laughs up at the sky at my lack of reply
With a twinkle in one eye he says:
“Lets blow this pigsty.”
He skips, gallops, trots into the forest.
I run after him past the lavender penguin
Who happily dances, unaware of his dawn demise.
Squeaky chases behind me
His lap now hidden by stacks of pictures.
Pictures of me, pictures that prove
He’s always loved me
Even when I had acne.
The masterful magic man
With magnolias on his bowtie
Stops at a sanctuary, a hiding place
Where sits a desk; my desk.
Somehow, some way, here in this strange forest
Perhaps I will finally write some text
With the help of this genius
Who carries a roll of paper towels
And cleans my wreck of a desk.
But his scarlet striped bowtie
Whirls, twirls, rotates
Stripes becoming swirls
Steam pours out his ears
And his blazing tangerine beard
Points towards the sky.
Run I must, run again
Past The Homecoming Wench whose stench
Makes me fall to the ground, fists clenched
Where Squeaky hovers above me
Professing his love and holding out a jar
By which he carries his heart and says:
“Please come with me to the bar
I’ll show you the world and take you to the car
Where your screams will be heard afar.”
Nowhere to run.
Nowhere to hide.
They all stand over me:
Tie-dyed bowtie and magenta beard.
Coral evening gown stained with dirt and blood.
Onyx glasses taped across the middle.
“It’s almost dawn
It’s almost dawn.
Fight, fight, fight.
Write, write, write.”
They taunt, bicker, shout,
Chant, cheer, jeer.
But fade does my fear
As the bald man’s head shines like a beacon
Glowing as bright as the computer screen
That lights up my room even now
That the candles have all flickered out.
Now it’s only the cursor that goes
But it no longer blinks on an empty white background.
Above the cursor, sits a page full of words.