#Five Alarm Smolder

During the Loyalist workshop someone asked me how long it took to write the poem I had handed out as my business card – it was Critic – which took less than ten minutes to spew out – I had that ‘crayons’ line in my head for a couple of days and with the prompt ‘critic’ the rest of it flooded out. Add another thirty minutes for edits & it was done. I hated to tell him how easy it was to do, how quick it was to get out of me – but I am practiced. Writing everyday helps, a lot.

skating away on the gravel of the new day
skating away on the gravel of the new day

Now here’s an older & much longer piece – Five Alarm Smolder. The initial spew was once again ten minutes – I let word associations take the momentum along – variations on expected phrases, repeated images, a dash of the surreal – made it flow pretty quickly. In editing I did a fair bit of reworking that flow – sequences of images is important to me – theme & variation – the ending called for a bit more thinking.

tonight a snake in a box
snake in a box?

The last step was the title. Often I’ll use an image from the piece, but this time I opted for something that reflected the ‘smolder’ of emotions that underpinned the piece.

How long does it take to write something? Better question would be how long does it take to finish something. Who knows, sometimes I rewrite as I read a piece aloud in front of an audience. Even in pulling ‘Smolder’ up for posting here I did some tinkering with it – a poem is never finished.

love a la crock
love a la crock

Five Alarm Smolder

it seemed the best way to rekindle

the fire in your heart

was to run over to the nearest bar & drink

till there was only a stumble of drunks to deal with

with no way out except to break the windows

you get the picture

yeah   I know drawing it in crayons

on the bedroom wall wasn’t a great idea

but you have to admit

I caught the fire using only the blues

like the blues you give anyone

lucky enough to catch you on our balcony

ready to jump

don’t do it

till I get a  coffee

I know I have to be careful

the contents may be hot

but wet will always put out the flame

it doesn’t makes much difference

what burns you out of my system

hot coffee or live flame

tossing your undies in the trash

was the only way

to keep your flesh ready and pliant

not that you kept them on long

yeah   not so funny

does it look like I’m laughing

all the way to the shadow of a home

where there once was a dart of hope

now just a tangle of empty coat hangers

in a clump I can’t pull apart

that once held everything you ever wore

dust doesn’t hang well

you know    I’m a total liar

I never picked up a drink because of you

wasn’t even tempted

sure you took something out of my life

I don’t need to breathe

I can’t get over the number of times

that I wanted to use your undies

to clean the coffee machine

so I would have a fresh cup

to dump in your laugh

I’m sure that behind closed eyes

you are smirking like a tried urinal

knowing you pissed me off one more time

but if you were here now

I’d probably take you back

but wouldn’t trust you

as far as you could throw my underwear

nice hat
nice hat

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