Then

The first time I put pen to paper
I knew that the sun rose and set
On strings of words that pulsed together
with the fury of a thousand lonely heart beats
There was no bottomless pit too deep
to crawl my imagination into

I wrote my first poem
Dipping my thoughts into a well of possibility
and bathing them with rhetoric
and rhyme
like ancient statues into a bubbling cascade of golden hue

I have spent my life assigning poetry to moments
and memories of things that are beyond my control:

My first dog who died
The first friend who stabbed me in the back
The first time I remembered unconscionable acts
My first rainbow

We garner our efforts with slippery words
that stroll off our tongues like caramel
Dripping free verse and metaphors slowly
So as not to undermine the frailty of our subconscience

The first time I warped my shadow into the frail gesture of a poet
I surrendered
To the cosmic oasis of uncomfortable vocabulary
That repulses and adheres
Those words that stick to you like tar
And feathers
Phrases that sere your eyebrows as they float up from the paper
With their mesmerizing harshness
And truth

The first time I knew I was a writer I screamed so loud your entire generation cracked in two places
Emitting steam
And disapproval

And then calm
Crept over me like the inevitable acceptance of cancer
Or the way you feel when falling through the air

First seized by terror
Then sinking like a stone
you cry through laughter
Counting your bones...

First denial
Then feeling

And then you're free....