Once I was inspired by the poems that I read in old-fashioned books, and as I was teaching, I often wrote poems that had their spark in the poetry I was teaching.
Now I tend to read poems online. I love the Via Negativa site, because I find a wide variety of inspiration there. And Dave Bonta, who started the site years ago, is so generous to post the poems inspired by other poems.
Some of my better poems have come from this process of reading a blog post or a poem online and then responding. I'm not sure that the one below will be one of my better ones, but I thought I'd post it. It was inspired by this poem, which in turn, was inspired by this post. And as I was revising my poem, I thought that I might write a new poem that would take off from the last stanza.
I've spent the week being intrigued by the nature of the word fiber: the fibers in cloth, the fiber that we eat, the fibers in our muscles. Perhaps a new poem is percolating.
But in the meantime, here's a poem for your Saturday.
Fiber of Existence
“Some maps clearly mark
the exits we need”
—Luisa A. Igloria, “Meander“
You will study the maps,
make a plan, pack
the right clothes, only to find
yourself in a different country,
the one you didn’t know
you needed to explore.
It is here you find the answers
to the unspoken questions.
Here is the journal written
in a language you can’t understand.
Here the box of letters
written between two souls
you do not know.
Here you pledge to drink from a dirty
glass, to ignore all your dusty duties.
Here you will ride the beast that scares
you most, the elephant or the motorcycle,
the couple married multiple decades
or mornings of solitary coffee.
Listen for the wind to whisper
your name. Go where the wind commands.
The rains will wash
away all evidence of your longing.
Eat the mush of memory.
Remember every dreary breakfast.
Resolve to find the fiber of your existence.
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