April 8, 2014 by Kara Nichols
On a whim 10 years ago I got poesía tattooed on my back (Spanish for poetry). Of course when I got the tattoo it seemed like the perfect homage to my favorite form of writing. And almost as if on cue, the poems stopped coming to me. Poetry was permanently etched into my back and I had writer’s block. It’s a good thing I’m a fan of irony.
In college I would spend hours, days, weeks, on a single poem. I attended the poetry club weekly and even won a few awards for my work. But after graduating, poetry slipped through my fingers. I had a full-time creative writing job that sucked all of the marrow from my bones. And once I lost my footing I couldn’t get back into that tight, dark space in my mind that produced poems.
I’m forcing a come back. I am finding that I still write from that broken place, about fractured relationships and loneliness, even though I don’t entirely relate to that now. Would it kill me to write about sunshine and doodled hearts on lined paper?
But for now, in honor of poetry month, here’s a stitched up piece. Half written 10 years ago, half written this past week.
“At twilight I went into the street.
The sun hung low in the iron sky,
ringed with cold plumage.
If I could write to you about this emptiness –“
– Louise Gluck
Let me say it from the parking lot
where I’ve sat for the last three hours
peeling slices of red paint
from my fingernails
while studying paramedics on their break:
They choke down roast chicken while waiting
for the missed step, misfires to happen.
“I have happened,” I tell the street lamps
who buzz & hum in reply —
moths glued to their sides
like soggy Os in a cereal bowl.
If I could write about this emptiness,
it would be like a breath holding too long underwater.
like white noise, and eternal ellipsis