Cam and I are doing another back and forth – one poem every other day. This series is titled “Well Spring” and, like our past collaborations, they are all about first drafts, generating new material, energy (not so much about theory or perfection or publishing or polishing).

Here’s a sampling of our latest. This is a prosey thing I put together a few nights ago in response to a 2-page poem Cam sent to me that climaxed with a stanza using the refrain, “I’m trying to tell you…”

At any rate, it’s a bit of back and forth with some obscure references, but here goes:


I’m trying to tell you what I always forget:
That in springtime, everything goes haywire—a goddamn cramping in the heart.
That after love and sweat and tears, there will always be language.
That each day is forever the beginning of your writing life.

I’m trying to say, like a shrink who needs to take her own advice,
that the sunset never happens “as it always does.”
It is only your heart set aflame with the thought of last curtain.
You will never be the same two eyes looking out again.

I would like to believe that she will change because she wants to.
That you will show her how to trust the minutes as they unfold
and she will show you how to commit, while a river rushes around you.

I want you to remember Kunitz’s “King of the River”:
That “nothing at all abides, but nostalgia and desire,
the two-way ladder between heaven and hell.”

I would like to believe that I know my own dream when I am living it.
That my hands are praying through the keyboard
and one day I will look over my shoulder to a warm smile.

I’m trying to say, like a liniment to the soul,
that loose change is never spare.
It is only your breath caught in your throat with the thought of another way.
You will never be what you cannot imagine.

I’m trying to tell you that there is no end
to any of this, not really.

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