I believe if you read a lot, your mind learns the ability to play different games or see different options in every situation that non-readers might not see.
Telling one’s own story is as important to a certain kind of survival as food and shelter.
How one cleans a toilet or does the dishes matters as much as how one enters a poem.
I want to sleep like the birds
then wake to write you again
without hope that you read me.
What poems make you want to yell from a rooftop? Fall in love and scream your head off? That’s all I really care about. The rest is middle management job security cocktail banter.
The problem had been that I didn’t know who one of the characters was, and I was resisting the obvious answer, which was that the character was “me.” I’d always suspected that I might be a character in the book, as a version of myself, but for various reasons, I resisted this. It felt too contrived. Too metafictional. Too postmodern. The earthquake and tsunami forced me to put myself on the line, as it were, and to step into the fictional world and participate. If this hadn’t happened, I would have written a lesser book.
Each line of your face
a dismissed metaphor.
You the timid champion
of time with men and art.
I don’t know you but I know you love something
A person, place or thing, maybe a song
And it’s not for me to tell you whether that should be enough
I just hope you let it feed you til you’re strong
lifting her head from the till—
‘Is that what it’s called?’
She hands back my card
over the pickled feet display
with a shrug, on learning
a new word, ‘wisteria,’ I savor
all the more as I drive back into it.
"The Girlfriend Game"!
What the fuck, right? Sounds like a game show. Spin the wheel and get a girlfriend. Will she be Vera Nabokov, or will she be Zelda Fitzgerald? Just be nice to her.