You write because you’re alive.
Because your brain is a singular specimen,
but your heart’s on loan from humanity at large.
You write to go somewhere green.
You write because the battle between the heart and the head
can be a silent, choking civil war.
You write because it’s the one worth fighting,
on all the days.
of the gap between the person you are
and the person you were supposed to become,
and the words are, if not a bridge,
then a photograph
in which the other you grows blurrier
by the sentence, the paragraph,
the story, The End.
You write because you’re self aware.
And other people seem surprised by them, too.
And in the exchange of that shared surprise comes another flash of sparks:
you are part of a chain reaction dating back to the Phoenicians,
a small, if vital component in a rolling caravan of readers and writers,
all hijacking the highways of literature’s nervous system,
with no horizon line in sight.
And if Shakespeare excites the highest hymns,
an individual’s response can still evoke the infinite.
And hey--remember--you’re alive and Willy’s not.
made more by the transfusion.
You write because your ego is often skidded, but never fully squashed.
And eventually, when your skin has thickened
into a callous-like armor threaded through with rejection,
you write for something more than validation.
You write--God help you--for truth.
until you set it down.
And even then, it takes endless trying
to set it just so.
You erase and rewrite because you can no longer pretend to be like Hemingway, bleeding through his perfect typewriter in that perfect Paris
of a perfect past which no one was ever, actually, part of.
So you write until the hemorrhage has a form.
Until it pumps with a finely-controlled precision.
As something apart from yourself.
With great mounds of flesh on its bones.
And later, less.
You write, you write, you write.
composed on a napkin
isn’t worth the cost of a drink
unless it’s got some iron and oxygen
blacking its ink.
You fail to write when the fear blocks your way.
You write blind--and deaf--to meet the words halfway.
there’s no other way, shoddy consolation that this is.
no matter how nearly perfect, or almost empty, life is.
You write to keep a child’s vision.
You write to play.
And sometimes, when you put them together
in the most friendly fashion,
they burst into song.
Or even keep you up at night.
I should know.