I. You thought this would be a dance lesson, things were easier then. No marimbas, no clarinets; only a longing for the fun to begin. Rain came down. Nothing seems as remote as the days you didn't have to think about it: always already there, gushing out. Control was required to stop ideas from overflowing. You did your job well, you killed them as one kills Easter baby chickens. II. Rasputin was on the lookout. Magdalene had multipurpose hair: Kumernis had it in stocks where and when she needed it, on her beard especially. Anything to keep the Barbarians away will do. Chopped noses, rotten chicken stuffed in corsets. We were told that the demons would come out in Maine. They hate recollections and certainty. Their favorite verb is sabotage. III. Rasputin helps one to recognize inspiration; but, oh, what could imagination be? To retrieve, to plunder, to forge. To be bored. To rip kites so they may stay on the ground. To forget jokes and misunderstand common sense. To sit for four hours without getting up. To count words and people and only remember their numbers. To listen closely to what loons could be trying to say. To permutate dots so that lines are never identical to each other. To return to known places and act always the same, thus the slightest change might become apparent. To force things to happen. To pretend there's meaning when all that comes out is a "My dog loves me and he's no showboat." To think there's nothing to say. To leap from canopy to can openers to can open her. You've begun, now use your props.
Reprinted from American Poet, Fall 2002. Copyright © 2002 by Mónica de la Torre. Reprinted by permission of the poet. All rights reserved.