look. writing isn’t some process like digital upgrades. or fusing the swampable switch. you can’t just take a paper and pen or some g.d. word processor and purr the whirr. you can’t ka-bang-yourself into poem. nice and neat like some city-slicker clicking himself down the downtown concrete streets to home. no, it isn’t like that. at all. poems aren’t some things we let out late at night after we’ve had too much to drink and the world has gone all blurred and we think we might have turned ourselves into bukowski’s underground-coyote brother. you can’t draw yourself into some dramatic competition with shakespeare or those brutal romantic poets. (or their dramatic goddamned daffodils.) if you see a poem, pick it up. and all day long you’ll have good luck. but do me this one favor. don’t do it quickly. oh, my poets, oh! like Walt Whitman and lucille clifton and all the great Americans before you, let your words be your spies and never be afraid! be meticulous and strange. be eccentric and extraordinary. and always, let your poem be you.


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