I have been thinking lately about the decade of my adult life when I did not write A SINGLE POEM. Well, I wrote one, but it was terrible, and I didn’t write any others. It feels so strange to me now. Poems are such a deep presence in my daily life. I am almost always working on something. If I go more than three days without at least gesturing towards a poem, I start to feel anxious, unfocused, like my life has little meaning. I also lose sense of time. When writing, I know exactly how I felt on a given day, what I was preoccupied with, what I saw staring out the window, but when not writing, it all feels indistinct and murky, passing without being noted.
The years I did not write poems were 2002-2012, and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why I didn’t write poems. I had quit smoking: I blame that often. Also, September 11th happened. Also, I was new to love, and happiness has never been the best fodder for poems. I wrote other things. I got an MFA in Fiction. I wrote essays and taught them, but for the life of me I could not write a poem. I didn’t know how they began, or what happened in the middle, or how they ended; I didn’t even know where they came from.
And then, in 2012, after the birth of my second daughter, Ella, I could suddenly write poems again; lines would come to me, often; I’d roll a word or an image in my head until I could get to the page; and, god, it felt so good, and it does still. Every morning, I wake not having any idea how to approach the page; every morning, I approach it anyway; and nearly every morning, I come away with something.
Anyway, not sure why I have chosen this extraordinarily busy day to write a blog post on a blog I’ve only written on a handful of times in the last few years, but here it is. A promise, maybe, to keep approaching the page; a shout-out of gratitude to Ella for sending me back to this place that offers clarity and grace; or just a hello to you, mom, because you alone occasionally ask about this blog. Hi, mom. I love you.