Poem a day #20 Before I got my eyes put out

I’ve been reading a lot of Emily Dickinson, and have been astounded by the power of her first lines. She has a way of kicking open a door and bursting into the room guns blazing. Wow. (And if that doesn’t jive with the myth of Emily The Lonely Scribbler you’ve been fed, go and read right now!) I’m working on using some of those lines as writing prompts. This one is far from finished, just a fragment, really, but I’m out of time and must move on for now.


Before I got my eyes put out

Before I got my eyes put out
wars blazed in raging glory,
hi-def videos of surgical strikes,
dead insurgents and cluster bombs.
And now? I’ve learned to fine-tune
focus just behind the screen.

Before I got my tongue cut off
words spilled out like candy went in,
sweet or bitter—a matter of choice.
I don’t miss speaking, for I can write,
but how I crave the smooth and sweet
of ice cream and my lover’s cunt.

Tomorrow, without hands, what I’ll
miss most is scratching an itch, or so
I’ve read in the testimony of men,
women, and children mutilated.
I think I’ll miss writing most, mute
without hands or tongue or eyes.

I expect my imagination to press on,
gasping like a severed head,
for a startling amount of time. Even
silenced it could change the world—
except it shrivels, unshared, grinding
down to single sounds and then


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s