Things I am thinking.

My hands lift, juggle, balance, hold —
what I’m here for,
what I
what you expect.
It’s not
that I won’t drop
or stop


The “dumb and divine stumbling” continues.¹  Things I am thinking:

  • Part of me wants to just throw these poems up here and forego the disclaimers, but I can’t seem to do it.  Talking about my process seems to be part of parcel of learning this form, of learning this new way to string my words together.  Talking about the difficulty I’m having actually seems to help me see new ways to approach the form.
  • I am always and always saying that I’m not a poet.  And I mean it when I say that, but I’m getting tired of hearing it.  Okay, so I’m not a poet, but I’m clearly invested in writing poetry, so I need to forget about labels and just do the work.
  • My mom scolded me over the weekend for talking disparagingly about my poetry.  She reminded me that I used to write poems all the time.  “Bad poems,” I said.  “Or good greeting card poems.”  And that’s a really obnoxious thing to say.  Don’t I look for “good greeting card poems” all the time when I’m … yes, of course … shopping for greeting cards?  I read for the things that move or amuse me, clearly finding some more powerful and effective than others, clearly assigning such judgmental labels as “good” to some and not others.  Why is it so easy to dismiss that writing because it’s used commercially?  And my claim is probably not true, in any case.  I can’t imagine any company — no matter how edgy or dysfunctional — that would have taken even one of my morose and melancholy high school poems and printed them on fancy card stock with a fancy price tag! 
  • I need to remember that there are people who will only see this one post, who won’t look back to find out that this is a Zeno poem, to find out that I’m trying to write a Zeno all April long, who won’t know what the rules of the form are … so I need to remember to include that info every day without annoying myself or the people who read here more regularly.²
  • I fell asleep before hitting “publish” on this post.  So I am agonizing over whether it’s dishonest to back-date it to the day I actuallywrote it (which is now yesterday already) or just put it up now and not be so ridiculous.  As you can see, I continue to be ridiculous.
  • Sigh.

¹ This is lifted and twisted from “The Seed at Zero,” a favorite Dylan Thomas poem.

² A Zeno has 10 lines. Syllables = 8/4/2/1/4/2/1/4/2/1. Rhyme scheme = a/b/c/d/e/f/d/g/h/d.

8 thoughts on “Things I am thinking.

  1. Oh dear. I hate to say should to anyone. But seriously, you should listen to your mother. Now I want you to listen to me. Please. Go walk into your bathroom. Stand in front of the mirror. Okay. Are you there yet? Now smile at the beautiful black woman you see. Tell her something nice. And tell her to stop telling you that you are not a poet. Now, please listen to her.
    You have inspired me to bravely write a zeno.


    1. Thanks, Pamela. I have been struggling with this calling myself a poet thing for a long time. It traces back to a really awful poetry workshop experience from my freshman year of college. I keep saying it’s high time I get over that, and I keep thinking I have gotten over it … and then I find myself up against that wall again. Fortunately, it doesn’t keep me from writing poems, but it’s annoying that it keeping being in the way between me and my ability to feel comfortable writing poems.


  2. All I can say is that reading this post, with all your disclaimers and self-reflection, puts a big smile on my face. I love reading your poems. And I especially love reading all the baggage that comes along with them. I like to learn about the process behind the poems.


  3. Dea

    I can’t really speak about poetry, but I can speak about art. And I know for myself that making “bad” art is a necessary, even mandatory step in my process.

    Sometimes those uninformed, trite, exhausted and redundant ideas need to be expressed in order for the more ephemeral, delicate and inspired ideas to have a clear path toward recognition. Sometimes I don’t even recognize the good stuff for a while after I’ve made it. It always helps if I can embrace and vigorously pursue making the bad stuff. I can always throw it away later 🙂

    Thanks for your posts, Stacie. It’s a pleasure to read what you write.


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