The Librarian: Day One of a Poem a Day

For the next thirty days, I will be writing a poem based on a poetry prompt guide for National Poetry Month. Yes, I am well-aware National Poetry Month begins in April, and today is April 26, 2017. I am about twenty-six days too late to the party, and I think that qualifies me as no longer being fashionably late, but instead, a different sort of late, but regardless, I love poetry, and I am going to follow these prompts for the next month. These prompts are a list of prompts I found by Kelli Russell Agodon.

Today’s prompt is:

“Grab the nearest book. Go to page 29. Write down ten poems that catch your eye. Use seven of the words in a poem.”

For this exercise, I am using the book Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. Instead of simply including words, I have chosen to include a couple of Murakami’s phrases that I am particularly fond of. The words are nothing, writer, dead, phone, searching, grains of light suspended in that silent space, again and again, books, word-searching sickness, and ambition:


The Librarian

I am nothing if not a writer.
(I sit beside the dead phone,
the one whose cord I yanked
from the wall when it jangled
me out of a deep and peaceful

I am searching for meaning
in days where the rain seems
to pour from inside of my head.
(There are no umbrellas for the
mind. I am lonesome in my quest.)

Grains of light are suspended
in that silent space.
There is beauty again and again,
but it is not to be found in the books
I have nuzzled against my body
(like some may hold a lover or bury a friend).

Instead, I cling to the secrets of my past,
determined to be beautiful in the strong,
silent way of so many proud men before me.
(I associate weakness with my sex,
but with weakness, there is vulnerability,
and I am vulnerable because of sex.)

Again and again,
I find myself alone, quaking at the sound
of raised voices and thrown lamps.
(The shattering of glass light bulbs
is what I assume a heart sounds like
when it breaks in a silent tomb.)

I retreat to my books.
No one can hurt me here.
I do not want to be afraid,
but I cannot help what
(or who) I am.

I have that word-searching sickness.
It consumes every fiber of my being.
Lusting after the words and turns of phrase
that seem to fall deftly from the lips of one author
to the next.
(They whisper their writing like lullabies,
mine come out stunted, fall short,
are our embarrassing little cousins
who follow after us in Mother’s furs and heels.)

Ambition holds me hostage to these books,
slave to my pens, and servant to my notebooks.
I may never be enough, but I can certainly try.
I am nothing if not a writer.
(I dream of these things, holding a book near to my chest
in the tomb of a darkened library. I whisper the words of classics,
but they burn inside my heart like flames,
and I am ember.)


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