Why writers are some of the quietest people, or a lament for having spoken

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

like colonoscopy

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

of image

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.


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