How My Poetry Happens


This is day 21 of Days of Unreason:

“Like many poets I’m part blackbird and part red squirrel        
and my brain chatters, shrieks, and whistles.” – Jim Harrison


At five it starts.

The mockingbird stokes
the fire, banked
through my sleeping
hours.  He knocks
the ash of slumber
from the coals, blows
birdsong breath, reviving
the fire in the boiler.

The squirrel I fired.

Instead, a raccoon operates
the throttle, pushing
or pulling as the muse dictates.
Several chimpanzees oil
the workings,
of the engine, ensuring
the gears, the whistles,
the sprockets, the Spirograph of my thoughts
are in perfect, erratic order.

The seagulls swoop
to keep me distracted,
and a gorilla with a mallet pounds
me on the bad joints of my big toes, so
I don’t get too maudlin.

Even though I fired him, the squirrel climbs
up on my left shoulder and chatters
in my bad ear while I write.

Now do you understand?


A little over a year ago, I joined Jillys2016 in a challenge called “28 Days of Unreason.”  She culled quotes from the poems of Jim Harrison in a book called Songs of Unreason.  We used the quotes as prompts; diving boards suspended over the abyss of poetry.  Jill is revisiting unreason, and I am skipping gleefully along.  Come and join the fun!



10 thoughts on “How My Poetry Happens

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