Here on my desk staring at the work that matters. Pages and pages of words, and I am deliberating on what needs doing. Of course a poem is never over, of course. But the manuscript exists.

Place to Be
Robert Creeley

Days the weather sits
in the endless sky,
the clouds drifting by.

The winter’s snow,
summer’s heat,
same street.

Nothing changes
but the faces, the people,
all the things they do

‘spite of heaven and hell
or city hall—
Nothing’s wiser than a moment.

No one’s chance
is simply changed by wishing,
right or wrong.

What you do is how you get along.
What you did is all it ever means.

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I’ve been doing this thing where I am working myself ragged for days. I feel so exhausted – my brain could run for hours if I let it, but my back is proclaiming agony. Surprisingly though my heart is doing well. No weeping of any kind. Yes! Isn’t that fantastic? Or maybe I am just going insane again.

So here: I’ve decided to leave the city. For a day, that is. In a few hours, I’m going to leave its filth, its drama, its persnickety ways. Rest. Breathe. Lose myself. And maybe find it again.

Fire
Robert Creeley

Clear smoke,
a fire in the far off
haze of summer,
burning somewhere.

What is
a lonely heart for
if not
for itself alone.

Do the questions
answer themselves,
all wonder
brought to a reckoning?

When you are done,
I am done,
then it seems that
one by one

we can leave it all,
to go on.

These headaches, they’re not funny anymore. I’ve been getting a lot of them lately, and I must admit it’s making me a bit scared. Like why-is-this-happening and what-is-wrong-with-me kind of scared. I’ve always had migraines since I was a kid, but never like this – the kind that makes you keel over because of the pain. Also: my heart is broken again. Story of my life.

Morning
Robert Creeley

dam’s broke,
head’s a
waterfall.

Fools rush in, says Sinatra in a song, and here I am, more than glad to be unhappy, he sings. Look at yourself, he croons, do you still believe the rumor that romance is simply grand?

Here, a poem for our wounds:

The Flower
Robert Creeley

I think I grow tensions
like flowers
in a wood where
nobody goes.

Each wound is perfect,
encloses itself in a tiny
imperceptible blossom,
making pain.

Pain is a flower like that one,
like this one,
like that one,
like this one.

I should borrow more Creeley in the library this year.

The Rain
Robert Creeley

All night the sound had
come back again,
and again falls
this quiet, persistent rain.

What am I to myself
that must be remembered,
insisted upon
so often? Is it

that never the ease,
even the hardness,
of rain falling
will have for me

something other than this,
something not so insistent—
am I to be locked in this
final uneasiness.

Love, if you love me,
lie next to me.
Be for me, like rain,
the getting out

of the tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi-
lust of intentional indifference.
Be wet
with a decent happiness.

Here’s a secret: I wanted to steal all the Robert Creeley books in the library. Every bookstore I went to doesn’t have his works. Shame.

A Reason
Robert Creeley

Each gesture
is a common one, a
black dog, crying, a
man, crying.

All alike, people
or things grow
fixed with what
happens to them.

I throw a stone.
It hits the wall,
it hits a dog,
it hits a child—

my sentimental
names for years
and years ago, from
something I’ve not become.

If I look
in the mirror,
the wall, I
see myself.

If I try
to do better
and better, I
do the same thing.

Let me hit you.
Will it hurt.
Your face is hurt
all the same.