Of course, the poet is parent to the verse:
maker, creator. Poetic embryos grow
inside me, waiting to be born, waiting for
surgery while still inside the womb,
waiting while I go rail fanning or watch
NASCAR: anything to make a memory.
A poet needs to make memories, to make
live, raw material, assembled & growing
a zygote toward revision.
A poet can add detail like a bird or a tree
to any memory. Yet we call that poet
a fool. A fool’s what Kilmer called himself,
so why not me? Yet if you’re bold enough
to say it, you can call me co-creator,
detail adjuster, bird watcher, tree hugger,
physician: prenatal surgeon of memories.
Anything other than fool. You can call me
Author’s Comment: This poem describes the formula for writing itself. I liked the image of poet as co-creator (with God), so I started with single words: maker, creator. I expanded with “surgery inside the womb,” which is revision. Revision takes place over time (during which I did other things.) I “make[s] memories,” which I embellish by adding details. After some word-play, I turn to Kilmer’s poem, “Trees,” in which he calls himself “a fool” and points out that “only God can make a tree.” The latter is true, but is the former? Am I a “fool,” or am I much, much more?
Bio: A former English teacher, Helen Losse is a Winston-Salem poet, the author of two full length books, Seriously Dangerous (Main Street Rag, 2011) and Better With Friends (Rank Stranger Press, 2009) and three chapbooks, Gathering the Broken Pieces, Paper Snowflakes, and Mansion of Memory (Rank Stranger Press, 2012). Helen’s poems have been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize and three times for a Best of the Net award, one of which was a finalist. Her book Seriously Dangerous was on the long list for a 2012 SIBA Book Award.
But sometimes the Devil makes me do it. Thanks for the good work, Helen.
Thank you, Robert.
Was this one I read an earlier version of? I love that idea of the zygote 🙂
Yes. You read it earlier, Jessie.
Good one, Helen!
I love the language and the progression of this, Helen!
Thank you, Annemarie.
I love this poem, Helen. I’d enjoy hearing you read it sometime. 🙂
I think I would know this is your poem, Helen, even without your name. I like it very much.