Tessa, Why I Write This Stuff

I’m not all that disciplined.
But I’m journeying–like you, Tessa,
and I do it with art.
In an elliptical way if you like,
knowing there’s a mountain
I need to climb with language.
Why, you ask, and it’s silly I know–
because it’s out there.

But maybe that’s a lie.
It’s all jangled inside.
Grungy stuff. I try to avoid being
sanctimonious but the stuff, though shabby,
exalts something within.
What, you ask, and I’d say,
I don’t know. It’s like we’re all crooked
needing much straightening.

It’s like we’re vapor.
Disconcerted fools. In love with form to
compensate for emptiness.
In making it we become something of
the higher–the unconscious, the archetypal–
affirming value while in the making;
to find in the one still point a fullness
in emptying, peace in austerity.

Prompt: Alright, time to ask da question, why do you write? Why do you create art like an artist or a musician? You do it as a matter of practice, so why? Leonard Cohen, in answering, had said, “It begins with an appetite to discover my self-respect. To redeem the day. So the day does not go down in debt. It begins with that kind of appetite.” That kind of nails it for me. What about you? Well now you’ve got to answer it in a poem. No rest for the wicked!

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