Monthly Archives: December 2015

Thoughts on Being a Warrior Writer and a Motherfucker

The author Cheryl Strayed says in a recent essay you must be a “warrior and a motherfucker” when it comes to being brave and resilient in your writing. I don’t believe this is enough. You must become a mental strip artist, an artisan for the broken, a pub singer of the damned, a babysitter of lost ideas, a window cleaner in a shit storm, a pole dancer in a literary hurricane, a taxi driver for the faintest of whims, a rambler through cemeteries, a curdler of fermented ideas, a rodeo clown at a funeral and a parade street sweeper of bullshit.

A writer must be able to ask the question: if in Alexandria in 275 BC, a 180 foot long gold-plated phallus was paraded through the streets of the city, flanked by elephants, a giraffe, a rhinoceros and decorated with ribbons and a gold star (according to Athenaeus,) where did they put the damned star?

The Words of Strangers

A Spanish dancer
leans low across a candle lit table
and breaks an eggshell
filled with glitter and perfume
over the head of her novio.

Laughing, she
whispers to him
tonight…or…not tonight…
as the guitar spreads
a vermillion river
of love before them.

So too it is with the words of strangers.
The musky poems of Neruda
and the brooding poems of Antonio Machado
break over me, drowning my senses.

They are alive like the sea at night,
like hungry ravens
or like the wild Kiger mustangs
on the rim rocks
above the Warm Springs reservation–

those horses descended
from the mounts of the conquistadors
that look at you in disdain
as though they might
take a Picasso in
as one of their own,
but you must go now.