Wednesday, March 7, 2007

I Hope I Don't Blow It

I'm still feeling out the different directions I want this thing to go. I'm not sure if this belongs in here, but let's try it out.

I woke up this morning at about 3:30am with a burning stomach. It's usual for me to wake up in the middle of the night, especially if I have to get up early the next day, but usually I can fall back to sleep. Well, sometimes I can fall back to sleep.

Even though I didn't have to wake up for another three hours, I just lay there with a churning belly (blame the Indian food) in a sort of halfsleep, turning occasionally from one side to the other. As I was lying there, images began to pour through my mind in the fluid way that can only happen in nearsleep or other altered states. I felt warm, comfortable. I realized I was experiencing a sudden rush of love for Thade, and then the words began.

I don't write poems very often. I know some people write several a week, but I've never been able to do that. I can make myself write prose for hours a day if I have to, but a poem always has to come to me. Sometimes, like last night, it comes almost entirely completed, and I just have to write it down or organize it, or maybe find the right word that properly expresses the meaning hovering in my mind.

One line came to me and seemed just so powerful, the crux of this whole poem thing, that I was afraid I would fall asleep and forget it. Without turning on the light, I scribbled the line in my journal, sure I would be able to remember even from indecipherable handwriting.

But I didn't fall asleep. I just lay there, drifting in the poem until 6:30, when my alarm rang. I got up and went to work for four hours, my mind ringing with the poem, subltly ordering it, polishing it, and admiring it. On my ten-minute break, I managed to jot down half of it, holding the rest in my head until I went home.

After lunch at home, I shut myself in my room and finished it. I don't know how long it took, maybe thirty minutes all together. Poetry writing is one of the only activities I participate in during which I can honestly say that I become unaware of time.

I've been exhausted all day. Tonight I meant to go to the Lindy Hop dance at MIT, but god, is it cold and am I tired. Oh well. There's a dance every week, and it's worth a night at home to have written this.

That gives you a pretty good idea of how I write poems. They are always written in my head for hours, days, or weeks before they see a page. Sometimes they come out fully formed, sometimes they need some help. On this one, I was lucky. It was a relatively easy birth.

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