Use your words, you learn
as soon as the freckle-tooth bunny boy runs off with your toy in preschool
Use your words, not your hands
to explain what’s amiss
and what will righten it.
But there are good words and bad words,
and words you can spit over sludge-covered tile
but not past the carpeted threshold where teacher doorposts after recess
and words that will drop like sugar cubes in the tea of chamomile-mouthed great-aunts
and uncles, but you better not be seen
pink-laced in those same words
in the boys’ room between fountains and sinkholes of you-know-what.
And some of the words
you won’t get to the middle
before you are cut off
or the phrase I love you just as much as the cat loves
the moon, stripping the alley of wiser rats who flee the cat’s
cast shadow over broken
And some of the people
who speak the words
speak different languages
so be careful of two, too, to, tue, tu, tout
at all costs avoid there their they’re th’air
and don’t say daffodils or swan parades
you can unlock the listener’s mind
and make sure such syllables don’t stand for war
or conjugal union
in the idiosyncratic hills and valleys of that mind.
Now you are a writer,
a once-ler of words,
a gloved magician unthroating them as a chain of silk lines attached to
loved ones, wishes, and a fat brownie prize between the horrors of The Times.
Now that you are a worder, use your words
sharply, but carefully
Cut the skin of the sky to rain blood and entrails down
but steer clear of the reproductive organs
else the moon will be halved, her swimming hearts
exposed to all in profane rain.
Throw your words
with the art of a needle swooping down into the tiny grotto
of a canvas
to unify one thread to one micro-inch
but throw your words on the pretense
of a hurricane, of a great watery war
shoving doors off their hinges and sending
love seats floating down brown rivers
like swollen calamities of some wreck.
Yes, use your words
hard, as hard as you can
but be careful not to break anything
for some things
cannot be vased, glued together or locketed
in mere words
and such things will be
beyond your reach.