For my young friend Dustin, who doesn’t yet believe she is a poet.
I’m sure I have. I must have. I just can’t remember composing a poem in my sleep before, which in a wind storm of condescension is what I sort of mean when someone (as a friend I had not seen in over forty years did recently) asks me if I begin a poem with an idea, a theme, a point, and then did not offer any other option, having (possibly) observed the twitch in my right eye, the hackles (I love this word) bristling on my neck, as I explained (as condescending as possible) how poetry is a process, an experience offered to those who enjoy discovery—
the thump, whump, thump, whump coming from the front right tire of your mother’s Plymouth as she drives you to first grade where you tell your teacher, off-handedly, that a turtle had latched its four, clawed feet in the treads for a joy ride.
Or the story my three-year-old granddaughter told about the sister you didn’t know you had that when she fell asleep in the grass, a cockroach crawled inside her t-shirt and chewed off her left nipple which would have taken some time, and you wanted to ask why the newly-discovered sister did not wake up.
Which is sort of the question I asked myself last night while I was dreaming the composing of at least the first stanza of very likely the best poem ever and unlike every other such poet, did not wake up and write the stanza on the pad of paper beside the pencil on the nightstand, so now I have no idea what I sleep-wrote (also no theme, no point), but I’m certain it was nowhere near the thrill of the turtle’s, the cockroach’s experience, or the telling of it.