“All my best words are deserters and do not answer the trumpet call, and the remainder are cripples.”
— Vladimir Nabokov, Invitation to a Beheading
If I had a brand new fountain pen
and a fresh bouquet of pencils,
perhaps I could reclaim my words
from my fallen writing utensils.
I might start writing the unknown thing,
now just an infusorial quiver;
it’s hidden just below the surface
rippling in this dammed mental river.
If the paper before me was ivory
and free from stray creases and marks,
perhaps a sudden inspiration would come;
perhaps I could summon some sparks.
Yet to make a word come alive,
to make a whole line iridescent —
’tis the challenge within these words,
to heal this poet convalescent.
This incurable disease in my head —
writer’s block with which I’m afflicted —
allows no room for words; instead, it
keeps my inspiration constricted.
The frustrated scribbling on paper
is all my resistant brain will allow;
forming somewhat coherent rhyme is
a task of not here and not now.
I’ve stared at the words for too long now
for this to be anything but a game.
“Soul ship” — what the hell does it mean?
Thanks for the fucking writing prompt, James.