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.