First day of October. I decide to write a poem a day this month. So far, so good.
On October 1, I made a list of nouns and a list of abstractions, like feelings. The idea is to select one word from each list and write about what connects them. I chose the pair, hair and hunger.
It’s not an easy case to make that hair and hunger are related in any way but that’s a poet’s job: to help us see connections at the intersection of two disparate things. So, in the poem, I become hungry for the hair I used to have, thick and colorful, in a world that is diminished, a world I cannot control.
Today, I wrote a poem for Rattle, which is dedicating an issue to Civil Servant Poets, poems by civilians who have spent “considerable”time working for a governmental agency. It seems like it would be a boring topic unless you have watched House of Cards and realize how dangerous power games can be and how far down into the ranks they can reach.
Today I recalled the car salesman brought in to head up a social services agency and how he angered me with his pompous ignorance. I was surprised to hear him say, years later, that it was the hardest job he’d ever had and how he took his worries about it home. I guess that part must have surprised him.
I am going to try for three civil service poems by October 15. Why, oh, why didn’t I save some of those old memos or emails??