Saturday, October 09, 2004

I'm rewriting some of the poems in Things You Can Do With a Sharpened Pencil, cutting out a lot of the crap, finally adding PAGE NUMBERS, contemplating entering it in the writer's digest best self-published book contest, though the entrance fee is $100.

Here's one of the rewrites:

Diary of a Thief

19, I was skinny and small, wore shirts over shirts over shirts, skirts,
sweaters, bit my fingernails fucked anyone who asked, the first time
away from a house where no one knew how to kiss without tongue

when I wasn’t drinking or fucking another boy who reeked of pine fresh,
I lived in our college library, a cathedral of blackened
cinnamon wood, the angels books, helpless blind and flat

one Saturday night I crammed myself into the book elevator and up
behind locked doors, fresh chainlink and bars, a famous poet, you
would know his name, the only copy of his thesis-- I took it down with me

the paper like baby skin, transparent, elusive, pages fed a manual
typewriter in the days of carbon paper, I took

it and almost the Degas sculpture, the signed Emily
Dickinson letters, the rare things we hide because some objects shimmer
so they melt in sunlight or too much viewing

I took those pages, I touched them, the hand drawn illustrations,
I kept it with my books on a darkened desk

for one week imagining the thousands it could get me or how to take
it to my breast and suckle it, make it my own, basking in the shine
around my head from having such a valuable thing,
I put it back

for years I have done this, the trespass, the baroque plans with valuables
that seem suddenly (mine) and for years I have only touched, returned,
I have regretted things caressed and left, the Chagall drawing

the Monets, but this spring I finally saw it as a talent, I can enter a private chamber, uncover without stripping what gleams and is hidden,

touch without molding to the shape of my mouth, I can return
it unkissed, unbroken, give back what belongs and it was spring

when it finally hit me
now I can be a mother

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