DEATH: THE MOVIE
Sometimes you wonder how it will be.
Will God appear at the end of a long summer afternoon
and call you home from a fragrant meadow
where the fireflies are just starting to blink so silently,
unaware of their own transcendent magnificence?
Will you tarry (note the romance in the phrase!)
to catch a trio in a clean Ball jar, then hurry home
to show at dinner? Will She––yes, in this flawless
Technicolor montage of tracking shots
and purple mountains and vibrant evening afterglow
She is a frontier woman––clang her tangy,
well-worn wooden spoon on the triangle
that hangs so geometrically above the wide,
congenial porch? Look, she’ll say, peach cobbler––I
baked your favorite––but it will change to cherry pie
while you wish it so, the perfect kind with the flowing
clever lattice of interlacing strips. And ice cream,
she says, just churned. And Daddy will take care
of your chores. (No Daddy with distressing patriarchal affinities
or bad hygiene or unruly facial hair will lurk
in the shadows, but his sprightly whistle––airy, tuneful,
irregular, tweeting through the gap in his front teeth––
will fill the darkening sweet air.) That’s when you’ll take
off your body like a tight pair of shoes and smell
the scent of hay. This may take a lot of Demerol.
Will Walker (2)
I write a lot. I'm in a couple of groups that call for daily production. When things are good, I write poems. These are often produced with a technique I learned from Marie Howe: Write with your non-dominant hand, giving yourself permission to write as large as need be to make allowances for the unfamiliar physical activity. And keep it up. That is: keep your hand moving, though don't get obsessed with having to keep it moving at a rapid pace. Enjoy the sensation of taking dictation with your non-dominant hand. Me: I'm left-handed, so writing with my non-dominant hand works especially well, in that I get to write the way cursive was designed to be written. The result: My non-dominant handwriting is much better than with my dominant hand, although each letter is about three inches high and I get about seven words to a page. (So, you know: get a pile of scrap paper to work with.) Then I transcribe with word-processing stuff and play around with lines and form.
This is on a steno pad. Mostly I use pencil. Extra bonus: ignoring pre-printed lines. Preferred size is regular-size scratch paper, but I also use legal pads regular size plus the longer variety, preferably yellow paper but white will do. The result: I use lots of paper, albeit both sides. So sue me.
This poem was written almost a decade ago. That's the other part of my process: I write stuff and then generally leave it alone for a long time. I hope this means that, by the time I go back to it, I'm somewhat more objective and am also capable of being surprised by stuff that I had forgotten I'd even written.
Such is the case here. I can't tell you why I wrote this. Certainly the original impetus had nothing to do with food, although I am certainly happy this fantasy got around to contemplating dessert.