December 22, 2011

A Seasonal Poem About Vermin

I'm still plugging away at my novel, The Books of Babel. Writing a novel is sort of like swimming out from the shore into the open ocean. When you start, it's shallow and warm and easy to kick your feet. You're eager and full of energy. You experiment with your strokes. You swim in zigzags. Maybe you float for a while and let the current carry you. The romping goes on for a hundred pages or so. 

Suddenly, you realize you're exhausted and the water is deep, and the shore is so receded, it's become invisible.  But you have no choice: you have to swim back to the shore. And so you begin writing the second half of the novel.

I'm still at a loss for a good seasonal poem, but for those of you who don't live in a hermetically sealed suburban mansion, I offer the following poem:

Holiday Inn
The katydids are the first to shut up and go.
Soon, the flies get tired of window-shopping;
the spiders take down their tents. It is winter. 

I unpack our slippers and bleed the radiators.
The wind moves in and riffles through our things. 
We make fog in our empty Coney Island of quilts. 
But in April, when the first fly taps the walls 
of our kitchen, attentive as a fire marshal, 
and a new spider opens a deli in the skylight,
I remember that our drafty window sills 
are an Ocean City to young ladybugs, our pantry 
is the Niagara Falls of honeymooning mice.


  1. Sympathies. A year into trying to finish my second major GN script in the midst of illustrating the first one. I agree; overall it's not dissimilar to slogging through an arctic snowdrift with cinderblocks tied to your tits. But you'll get there, mate. You've had a decade or two to practice, and you've rarely allowed yourself time to atrophy. Keep at 'er.