Monday, March 21, 2016

Empty...#Sol 16 --Day 21

Empty...#Sol 16 --Day 21

I have nothing to write about...All the topics that come to my mind I either don't like, or do not feel comfortable sharing. I have not made any original observations or reached any epiphanies today.
Feel free to stop reading. I understand.

 I guess I now feel like my students who are stuck in a void...stuck in front of blank pages. Ideas hop in and out of my mind.  I will need to grab one and just write...

I still need to finish grading short stories for my Creative Writing class. So, I need to take a deep breath, and let words slip from my fingers.

Okay, since I am stuck, I will allow images to lead me:

I see a dirt path
It takes me to a well
made of stones.
Sitting on the well
like a flaunting mistress
is a new silver pail
and a new coarse rope
gathered by its side 
loyally by its side.

I want to grab the rope
and feel its straightening pull
as the silver pail plunges into 
the dark water.
It takes longer to hear the 
I almost have nothing left of the cord
When I feel the new silver
pail hit the water.

I try to maneuver the cord
to pull water up 
up I pull and the silver
pail emerges from the darkness
with splashing water from side to side.

I take the pail,
look into it to see a wobbly
reflection of my New York smile
against a moving sky.
I did it! I did it!
I got some water out of the well 
without any help.

And now I will pour this water
into an open-mouth bucket
to wash myself in the open air
pouring yellow cups of water on 
my body parts as I make sure
no one walks into the yard.
Fighting suds with little cups of 
Missing the feel of my hot U.S. showers.

New York girl used to locking doors
visiting family outside the Haitian Capital
Bathing with the wide touch of the hot
sun on my back...
even as I shiver from my chest's and toes' contact with 
the outside air, the spread of the sun 
rays on the skin on my back 
feels like a warm blanket fresh out of the dryer.

The dirty water gathered in the open-mouth bucket
I pour down the narrow open sewer
that lines the periphery of the yard:
the dirt washed from my body floating in the water
Little oily flecks of brown patches
floating on the well water.
swirling down the grate-less sewer 
outside the gates of our cousin's home
down the main streets.

Landing by the province's church to 
rest and mix with the dirt of others
the aimless litter of pedestrians.
Where does this dirty water end up?
I dare confess I do not know.
well 2013    A Year to Learn Self Reliance
A well of water whose depth 
I will never know
Water tainted with the dust of my body
ending up 
I have never bothered to know.

(I USUALLY REACH AN EPIPHANY or A PLAY OF WORDS AT THE END OF MY POEMS. THERE IS NOTHING...NOTHING...Thank God I do not write Poetry to pay the mortgage. Though I feel discouraged now,  I know words will show up at my doorstep tomorrow.)

I think I will end here because truthfully, I have no idea where this poem is leading me.
I am empty tonight, but I will sleep with the knowledge that there are wells out there
that are nourishing long lost brothers and sisters back in Haiti.


  1. You have a lot of brilliant imagery in this poem. Keep working with it. I suspect it is metaphorical and magical. But let it grow. Don't force its publication.... Tomorrow will be easier to write. My mom reads my work and commented this weekend, "You sure do have a lot of late night slices this know the ones where you really don't say anything." It happens. I'm interested in your work in Haiti...prayers for you tonight...

  2. You did it, and it is well done!!! I love the images of the stone well, the silver pail, the thick rope cord, and the suspense you build on pulling the water up from the well. It's a perfect metaphor for your struggle tonight to find a topic for your slice!
    Your memory of taking baths outside during your visits to Haiti in contrast to the locked door and hot showers of NY is beautiful.

  3. That was awesome for having nothing to write about! Sometimes those are the best words, because we had to work extra hard for them.

  4. I think this is really the beginning of something. You created some wonderful images.

  5. There is so much imagery in what you have here. I think some great advice was offered...keep playing with it. It feels like it's going somewhere amazing - don't give up on it!

  6. I admire you for continuing to write your way through being tired. That you came up with the start of what is another powerful poem is testament to how much of a master you are. You demonstrate that, when times are difficult, poetry is, indeed, the answer. You will find where to go next. The poem will lead you there. Thank you for this entry.

  7. You have the fullest emptiness of anyone I know! I agree with Kim: "The poem will lead you there." For me, however, the cascading water and cascading words already suffice. Thanks, NL!

  8. We all feel moments when we have nothing to share. You showed up. You told your story! That's not a small thing. I love the poem!! Thank you!