It’s late and my page lays bare.
No writers block is visiting here
only over-tired delirium.
Words come not belonging to me
but to those I’ve read repeatedly,
those who inspire and intimidate me.
So it is better to speak
remembering we were never
meant to survive
comes through from Audre Lorde
and I pause to wonder about her emotions
at the moment she wrote those lines.
Dissolving in the chemic vat
of time, man (gristle and fat),
corrupting on a rock in space…
slides in and I’m once again
marveling at Stanley Kunitz
and the imagery he chooses to create.
I think about how, like Diane Ackerman
I too praise my destroyer.
Then I think I get how Billy Collins
came to see the relationship
between sex and death.
And without recalling
a single word from either, their names
Maya Angelou and Lucille Clifton
summon up from deep within me,
adoration and reverence such that
I know, no one will miss my voice
not put on paper tonight.
©2009 by Shari Lynne Smothers
My distractions for this poem came from the following works:
A Litany for Survival by Audre Lorde, from The Black Unicorn
Change by Stanley Kunitz, from The Collected Poems
I Praise My Destroyer by Diane Ackerman, from I Praise My Destroyer
Purity by Billy Collins, from Questions About Angels
Ailey, Baldwin, Floyd, Killens, and Mayfield by Maya Angelou, author of I Shall Not be Moved
Study the Masters by Lucille Clifton, from Blessing the Boats