Working Through

It should have been heaven.
An ice storm closed me in the house but left the power on. I had heat, food, five kinds of tea, and uninterrupted time. I wanted to plunge into the novel-in-verse that's now past the halfway point - turn some of those ideas into finished poems. (To read one, click here. Six more poems will appear in The Missouri Review this summer.)
But the poems wouldn't come.
I edited some earlier poems, work that needed doing, but it wasn't new work.
I kept myself in the chair, doing other bits of writer-biz, putting myself in the place for writing to happen.
But that doesn't mean it will.
So I gritted my teeth and plunged into the half-formed ideas. It wasn't sweet inspiration. It was that other kind - perspiration, like loading wood. One chunk after the other.
Slowly, the poem took shape. It's not finished - the language isn't singing yet - but it has a shape. And the second poem is starting to round into reality as a call-and-response.
The Leopard Lady project was long in coming into being - the first hints of it appeared more than ten years ago. But since I began in earnest a couple of years ago, the poems have been accumulating. Some of them come with a rush of fire, some with a slog through the swamp. I don't know if anyone else can tell one from the other, or if I will when I look back at the completed book.


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