…Always Gets It Done


Stuck by a magnet on a strip on my bathroom wall is the paper insert from the name tag from a festival I attended some years ago. My name is printed on it and underneath I’ve handwritten “ALWAYS GETS IT DONE.”  It’s a reminder to myself. To not freak the fuck out. Because I do seem to get it all done eventually. And I also do seem to freak out a lot. I’ll freak out about not emailing enough in favor of writing poems or not writing poems in favor of working on some essay or not working on an essay enough in favor of reading or not reading enough in favor of staying on top of my emails. Then I’ll direct myself to the note on the wall. Remember? You always get it done. Chill the fuck out. But if I do in fact always get it done, it’s probably because I freak out. There is no life-affirming, mindful moral to this story. I don’t think it’s sustainable, but it’s how it is right now.

The Poems I have Not Written
John Brehm 

I’m so wildly unprolific, the poems
I have not written would reach
from here to the California coast
if you laid them end to end.

And if you stacked them up,
the poems I have not written
would sway like a silent
Tower of Babel, saying nothing

and everything in a thousand
different tongues. So moving, so
filled with and emptied of suffering,
so steeped in the music of a voice

speechless before the truth,
the poems I have not written
would break the hearts of every
woman who’s ever left me,

make them eye their husbands
with a sharp contempt and hate
themselves for turning their backs
on the very source of beauty.

The poems I have not written
would compel all other poets
to ask of God: "Why do you
let me live? I am worthless.

please strike me dead at once,
destroy my works and cleanse
the earth of all my ghastly
imperfections.” Trees would

bow their heads before the poems
I have not written. “Take me,"
they would say, “and turn me
into your pages so that I

might live forever as the ground
from which your words arise.”
The wind itself, about which
I might have written so eloquently,

praising its slick and intersecting
rivers of air, its stately calms
and furious interrogations,
its flutelike lingerings and passionate

reproofs, would divert its course
to sweep down and then pass over
the poems I have not written,
and the life I have not lived, the life

I’ve failed even to imagine,
which they so perfectly describe.

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