writing poetry is like craving coffee. one bad cup, one bad line and the day is ruined. and i hate knowing that in order to love that first sip i gotta drink like 15 cups to find it. and the problem in processing caffeine is that everything starts happening at the speed of sound. shit gets missed. light becomes leaden. time blinks in and out while my senses try and make sense. noticing focuses then snaps like an oversharpened pencil. yet i keep writing with that hobbled tool making word shapes and letter sounds and sentence pictures. i once cut the line of a funeral procession because of over caffeination. i felt so bad that i wrote a poem about it. but i never apologized to the family in the lead car. i keep looking for the line that was waiting in line. scanning for a raised hand at the back of the stanza. for the voice simmering just under the noise and the scribbles. coffee in coffee shops is easy, asking someone else to grind it out and brew it means that you are in their hands for the gift of the sip. hell you can even hand it back and ask them to make it again. and again. yet when these ridiculous dancing ideas meet dark roast and accepting paper, i light up. and if it rhymes easily, everything stops. and i stop. my heart stops. my coffee cools and i wonder if i should rewrite the whole piece around it.
i am brushing my teeth then climbing a tree then making a list then nervously flying away- wait, so, i hate flying because, well falling and flailing sometimes follows. that is to say i keep reaching into near distances to lift a curtain behind which i find instances of myself looking back at me holding the same diaphanous fabric delicately beholding the same stage and audience ironically. its more than curiosity that keeps me pulling at threads of reality. its always the last time, near the last line, where i accept, ‘okay fine’ that all i am sits here in this room dreaming wandering avoiding the gloom and escaping tasks that are launching me, out of me just to see if i should be doing anything other than brushing my teeth.
i keep getting caught in the space between knowing a thing and understanding it. forests are full of reminders of the unseen. of distance between. reminders escaping meaning. like how that woodpecker eyed me before i, he. or how i heard him, before he, me. i drew to him as the echoes varied. high low high low fast slow fast slow. in alternating tones. the pound from his sounds was designed to save him from headaches. like this forest does for me. it separates the mind from the pain. the 'here we go' from the 'again'. but i just had to know more, so i googled for a bit. a woodpecker's skull sits on suspension, has seatbelts to hold its brain in place, and the pace never pecks in the exact same space. peckings had stopped, but were still chased around the green by echoes. and it seemed like the moment was here and everywhere. just like the unseen. suddenly i was two feet from his workspace. interrupting his meal, my eyes fell into his, mid grace. my meaning making started and i believed the bird wanted me closer. he chose here to stay and wait a bit longer. and the longer i stood the clearer it became that actually 'no sir' was his message as he flew off abandoning me there.