The Vampire Queen and Spider Poets


Yesterday at work, I met a vampire. At least I’d like to think it was a vampire, because it makes the story better. She licked the dribbles of blood from her hand, that she had discovered moments earlier, while she was waiting to order. She asked us for a bandaid. Then she started bleeding again, and said something like “Man, I keep cutting myself on something.” Then she proceeded to lick off all that blood from her hand, right in front of me. Next she went to the bathroom, to do god-knows-what, and returned a few moments later to exclaim that it was the rhinestones on her pants that were “disintegratering.” Kids, don’t do drugs. Not even once. I’m surprised she didn’t ask for a pair of pliers to pull the rhinestone studs out of her pants. I imagine those pants really wreak havoc on wooden furniture. Maybe she should stick to skirts. Dark colors of course, so they don’t stain red.

I just got back from my run. Welcome to week three, Brian! It wasn’t too horrible, but I really pushed myself. I hope I don’t pay for it later. The workout this week is only 28 minutes. Thank God. I don’t know that I could have managed 30 today. It was fairly grueling, and I could feel my legs tighten when I was going up hills. Also when I was going down hills. It was already close to 80 when I started my run, and the trail was slippery from two days of humidity. It was like breathing soup. I was afraid I’d slip and fall down on some random leaf. I remembered to keep my butt underneath me, and to land each step carefully, but every once in awhile I could feel the paved trail give zero resistance under my feet. This scared me, and I was constantly worried that one false move would send me tumbling. Anyway, I made it home, and I wasn’t dead or dying or anything. I was sweating more than a normal person should. Maybe it’s my super power.

I try to listen to Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac podcast every day, to get relaxing moment of poetry in my mind. My goal is to really consider a few words, and find out where they take me. I try to keep an open mind. Lots of the poems he chooses aren’t really to my taste. Or, rather, they are, because they’re perfectly unchallenging. They give you a scene, and a picture or a reminiscence, but nothing more. Occasionally I want to read a little more by an author whose name he mentions. Louise Erdrich, for example. But mostly I want to figure out a way to make my prose poetic, and make my poetry prosaic.

have you ever wondered at those people who manage to spin out poems like a spider spins webs out their butt? The poem may seem intricate and homey, but only to the spider. Anyone else will get stuck in the sticky web, and want to scream, but you just. can’t. get. away. A big purple, bulbous face appears above you, and says “Hey, did you like my poem? What did you think?” Then, before you realize it, all your juice is sucked out, and you’re a dessicated husk. You find yourself smiling, and bobbing your withered head. “Maaaan that was some good poem.” But what you really wanted to do was run away from the person who would set rhyme to “love” and “above”, and who shifted their verbs to the end of lines to force a rhyme. No enjambment here. Please move on.

Today, It feels like I’m scraping thoughts off my brain the same way you’d use sandpaper to clean off a piece of rough wood. And coming up with… dust. I need to look at the finished product, not the pile of dust. Who knows: maybe I’ve been looking at the wrong pile all along?

Writing is like running. Don’t stare down at the ground where your feet are landing–look forward, 20, 50, 100 feet ahead. You need to focus on what’s coming. I’m not sure how good I am at this, either when running or writing. At the very least, looking forward what I should do. It’ll keep me far, far away from the hand-licking vampire queen.

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