poems come as they will

I’ve been hunting down a poem for the last five hours
with a pen that’s scribbled through a thousand false starts
and misworded phrases
trying to keep track with
a target
that slips in and out of language

I’m done now

Leaving behind half-mangled nouns
and mutilated
I stand up, wiping off squished morsels of words
from the seat of my pants

Stretching, I look around, not seeing
the shreds of participles scattered all over the
table, stacked under the dictionary, some
sticking out bookmarklike by the letter s

I run my fingers through my hair, not feeling the morphemes still hanging on to
strands where I had earlier
rested my head in my hands,
just waiting for the right word to appear

I pick
Up the single sheet on which
The poem lies

At this point, I always wipe over the page with my hand,
to feel the life captured throbbing under
scratched out scrawls and doodles,
not realizing that I am also rubbing off the taste of words
too effusive, and the colours of a metaphor too clingy

Morning will come
And then I will clear up the ripped packets of biscuits and crisps, yellowbrown banana peels, and the bowl of nuts not yet finished, perhaps vacuum cleaning to make sure that I’ve got everything that’s left, but
for now, my work is done

Forgetting that if you wait long enough
and pay no attention
(fall asleep if you must )

the discarded words you shed, like all lost belongings
will eventually find each other in a forgotten corner of your mind
and your subconscious
comes out while you sleep
to spin a web

catching on fragile thin lines
words you thought you no longer had use for
weaving a hook here, and securing
a nibble there
till the next mornin
you’ll (upon waking) find:

a poem stretched cobweb-
perfect across your mind


~ by translating for peas on October 30, 2009.

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