Writing the Wrong Poem All Wrong
I have a poem I’ve been working on for 13 years. I pull it out every other year or so, tinker it some and get it wrong some more.
For 13 years I’ve been getting it wrong. It’s a terrible poem, but I think of it more than I think of the poems I consider successful. Why?
Because it drives me nuts I can’t get it finished? Maybe.
The Birth of the Sun
It begins like this: a boy
opens a Ziploc bag to set free a bright fish
the quick in the water’s dark profundity
I think it’s more likely that I enjoy the puzzle. I keep worrying the central metaphor, thinking this time I’ll understand.
he stars the pond with flakes of food
the blazing fish whirling in tight wheels
burns beneath the calm, turning and turning fish
small yellow sprocket winding
bright gear driving, golden hub
a singular genius loopdeloop of lucky quark
Nope. Not this time. I always get lost in the spinning. Maybe the damn fish just needs to hold still.
I still don’t know what I’m trying to say and tonight I really don’t care. What I am grateful for is the freedom to get it wrong again and again and nobody died and no world economies fell and I don’t have to give up my lucky pencil because I wrote a bad poem. 13 years becomes 14 years. I am faithful in my failure.