Birds singing in the February air. Dillard listens to a mockingbird trilling in the trees, echoing in her chimney. She sees the mockingbird as a limitless inventor, creating a song. Repeating it, over and over. Then, molding a new song. Dillard writes that the mockingbird "strews newness about as casually as a god."
Tonight, I was a mockingbird at the library in my hometown. I gave a poetry reading, accompanied by a couple of my musician friends. The poems I read were from a collection about Bigfoot on which I have been working. In the past few weeks, I've been very productive. Four new poems, the last one finished this morning. At this rate, by next summer, I should have a new book.
We got a bigger crowd than I expected. A few complete strangers and some friends and family. And one of my students. Everybody seemed to like the event. My musician friends sang "Creep" by Radiohead and "Mad World" by Gary Jules. We started out the whole night with "Secret" by The Pierces from the TV show Pretty Little Liars.
There are few times in my life when I feel like a real poet. Most of the time, I write in stolen moments. Early morning, before work. In my office at the university, waiting for my kids to be done with dance classes. So, my poems come together in pieces, revised and patched together over many weeks sometimes. Tonight, I felt like a poet. A real one. I even had someone come up to me after the reading and say, "I can't wait to read your new book. Do you have a publisher yet?"
Tomorrow, it's back to my normal life. Instead of a mockingbird, I will be a worker drone for eight hours. It will be a letdown for sure. Then, this weekend, I have a huge stack of midterms to grade, a house to clean, and church services to attend. Hopefully, somewhere in there, I will be able to start a new Bigfoot poem.
Bob Dylan is a Nobel laureate who doesn't care about being a Nobel laureate.
And Saint Marty is a poet who really doesn't want to go to work tomorrow.
|I feel a poem coming on . . .|