what i asked for

(image courtesy Jordan Blanchard)

Every time I say the words “my” and “novel” in the same sentence, my novel hogties me to the bed and teaches me a lesson with a dull pencil: Take that, you pretentious twirp. So today, instead of trying to tame the beast, I wrote a little almost-poem in the style of Larry Levis, because I wish I could write like him.

what i asked for
(an homage to Larry Levis, by Anna Fonté)

At first, writing was heavy pets and wide-mouthed kissing,
dry humps in parking lots and hallways and elevators and in the car
flying down the highway and in the middle of the night, take me, take me
I had notes scribbled from my shoulder to my knuckles,
a beard-shaped rash and rug burn on my elbows
and didn’t care, no, no.
The words had me slick and giddy,
strutting with a macho limp and a thick, fat pen
in my back pocket because you never know
when that urge is going to hit.

But soon, I was gripping the page with both hands, shaking
begging please, please, don’t leave me like this, just give me a little taste
but the words on the page grew tepid
they said, let’s be friends. You’re like a sister.
I’ll text you if I need you. You can cook me dinner
next Wednesday
if nothing better comes up.

But still, I went through the motions, poses and prostrations,
dutiful and dogged
as a dog
and it said, my god, what is the matter, you look like trash and I didn’t raise a loser
you’re too old for this. you should have married a doctor
what, do you have rocks in your head?

So I threw the pens out the window, dyed my hair blue, and started cutting.
I used the Wedgwood as an ashtray and let the bonsai wither in their pots.
I moved across town and changed my name but it made no difference.
It is always here, propped in the corner, shapeless as dirt and frayed at the edges,
moth-eaten and smelly, with stains on every page
and every once in awhile, it croaks in a faint German accent:
I’m just like your father. Come closer. Come closer. I promise not to bite.

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About Anna Fonté

Girl in the Hat, aka Anna Fonté, is an author who writes about invisibility, outsider status, everyday monsters, and her attempts to befriend the neighborhood crows. The things she writes want you to look at them.

39 comments

  1. gailytr

    oh, man, thats powerful. and funneeee. and i think you’d better get up and go for a walk before you kill yourself.

  2. Great stuff, Anna! If you can write narrative like this poem then your novel will be fun for us all to read.

  3. Goddamn, Anna. You can write.

  4. Anna, what can I say that has not been clearly said above? I loved it and had to read it twice for fear I may have missed one of your battles with your writing.

  5. you have inspired me.
    that is about the best compliment i think anyone can hope for.

  6. You are, as always, awesome. A true artist. I admire your discipline and productivity. I had to share this on my Facebook author page.

  7. Wow!

    I love this for all the reasons everyone said before I got here, plus the way I felt the dynamic right in my gut just by reading your words.

    Why does writing torture us, when we love it so? It’s like a freakin’ apache dance sometimes.

  8. I suspect that Anna started reading my blog again.

    Made my day!

    How are your ravens?

  9. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, Anna!

  10. Your posts about this topic have created a seriously interesting sub-topic.

  11. You are on fire and smoldering at the same time.
    I LOVE this!

  12. I can’t say ‘my novel’ or ‘my book’ but only ‘my story’. So you had me with your opening lines but I loved the poem. Especially the second stanza. I do believe I’m in that begging stage at the moment. There must be some place you could submit this.

    • I’m in the paper-cut stage. Every time I look at it, I feel like cutting my wrists.
      I have no luck with submissions. So showing it to a handful here will have to do. Thank you for reading!

  13. Pat

    Found you via finding time to write. Glad I clicked. Really great, thoroughly enjoyed it.

  14. Awesome you are. Impressed I be 🙂

  15. Pingback: The Pigeon King « Bluebird Blvd.

  16. This hits home. When the muse departs it’s a love lost. Beautifully written. Both of you.

  17. I’m reading your blogs backwards.I bet your niece poem was one of those poems that seems to come easily like some paintings do.

  18. settleandchase

    I just so love your writing – this one has such a fire to it, loved it..I so know that mix of pain and pleasure from creative work…it can be so exhausting..and yet every time we keep on diving back in…!

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