Sunday, August 29, 2010

Like A Melon

I had hardly begun to read
I asked how can you ever be sure
that what you write is really
any good at all and he said you can't
you can't you can never be sure
you die without knowing
whether anything you wrote was any good
if you have to be sure don't write
- W. S. Merwin

I would add to this. Writing is for me a practice. It is not enough to write when you feel like it, to dabble in it. You write far beyond that point, forging into the murky regions where your will falters and you must rely on something deeper than that. It is not about how good you are, not about how much the public will care, not about your place in the long line of wordsmiths on the planet. Writing perhaps leads to such things but if they are primary there is an inherent end to the road. Write for the love of words. Write because you must. Enter the practice of writing, knowing the path it reveals is one that lends substance to your life though it may lead nowhere. Because you write, your ghostly presence on the planet solidifies. Your life will be filled with grace along the way. Now return to this question: “how can you ever be sure that what you write is really any good at all?” Of course you can’t be sure. You can however realize that it is the wrong question and stop asking.

Like A Melon

Today I arrived,
broke open, revealing how
ripe I have become
in years of waiting,
years of silent cries, yearning
after the promise,
hope waxing, waning
waxing again as you stirred,
seemed to look at me.

I, like a melon
have been thickheaded to your
knock until this day.

When you rapped, I sang
out my ripe red fruity song
and here's my display.

July 5, 2009 2:24 PM


  1. Because you write, your ghostly presence on the planet solidifies.

    It could be said of me, without the pen my life would not be undone. And yet, I would reply, but the life I lead was not mine, but my sister's, a girl who once looked like me. This life, this life now after the pen, well, I write with my skin.

    Your poem makes me laugh for I see you swell like a melon. I hear konck, konck. And I see you smile.


  2. Yes, I write firmly of those with the calling like mine. I have gone years without writing much, but most of my life I have written something, some sort of thing. At one point it happened as a condition of my work that I write. That was heaven. But I have other forms of expression too. I could have developed a kind of cartoon art but didn't. There is of course my music.

  3. "the murky regions where your will falters and you must rely on something deeper than that"...not just in writing. Growing places those. But as you, when I look back, I was always writing. Journals, songs. It just is now, as it should be.

  4. Yes, that's it. While I say that getting really good at writing is secondary to the push of having to write, it can't for me stay that way. I am so sensitive to my own words, so conscious of how they are placed. I edit everything as I go but that is not enough, is never enough, really. Other times will lead to severe sessions of disassembly and reassembly. When you write as much as I am doing now, you find the words come in garbled at least occasionally.

    The computer makes this so much easier, and I did it before computers too. That's why I will never agree with people who insist that writing by hand is better. I have to edit no matter where I write, and editing on the computer is lightning fast comparatively.

    There is a way that hand drafting is better than computer aided drafting, but not in all ways, because the editing function makes so much copying and tweaking possible if those features are necessary. They are necessary so often that computer aided drafting wins hands down. I am far more error prone on the computer in a drafting effort. The computer screen gives you forced tunnel vision and I found my own errors primarily using my peripheral eye.

  5. I liked this a lot, made me feel better about how much I have written and continue to write each day, knowing only I will read most of it, if I ever take the time. I can apply your words easily to drawing too. Over the years I care less about what is good or not so good. It’s just putting it down that’s important these day.

  6. You get it, doncha!

    That's the deal, like it or not.

    The rest comes, or not.

    Joe Campbell called this, "Follow your bliss."


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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