Tonight I pulled over to write a poem

Once, I was in a writing class that wasn’t a dog park for every student’s pet borderline personality disorder. There was a woman in it who taped a small voice recorder to her dashboard so she could compose while driving and never miss an idea.

Handheld tape recorders were a mainstay of the electronics hodgepodge in my childhood home. I occasionally saw them in use on old doctor shows, and I was absolutely fascinated by the tiny cassette tapes. The one I bought after that class lies defunct in daily view, on one of those undesignated shelves where once- precious-now-too-much-effort-to-repair items convalesce. Mine has no tape marks.

Though I never used it in a car, I told that recorder three to four hours worth of stuff over six years. I listened to it too. But it wasn’t worth it. As much as I write like I talk. I don’t so much talk like I write.

So I have notebooks. I have notebooks like they are the coin of some secret realm and I am that king’s purloining exchequer.

Ideas still stun me, like unexpected nudity. I never know where to look next or what might develop, and I have trouble remembering the first beautiful glance when my eye trails and lingers. The better to build the apt phrase with, my dear.

So tonight, when three words became six, became a burgeoning piece. And I was just halfway home and still wanted to go to the library, I pulled into an empty parking space and wrote this down:

Icarus fell
Pride
 
Were you proud?
It didn’t seem so
In your silent repose
Arms flung out like gliders
 
Pale and evanescent 
As an angel’s might be
 
But you did not shimmer with the Holy
Or a casual humming omnipotence
 
You quivered near death
Spirit taking hesitant steps to cross the threshold
Thinking better of it
Looking back
 
You were hovering in cosmic indecision
Waiting for your body to raise its axe
And finish the work of a sloppy guillotinier
Or the righteous physician to burst from the crowd
And resurrect you
 
Not your choice anymore
May as well just enjoy the view
 
So did you fly up to the sun to prove your new not-flesh invulnerable?
 
I imagine you did
Looked that scorcher right in the eye
Maybe one day you’ll tell me what the sun said
To bring the color rushing back to your skin

 

It will change. As drafts do.

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