This week’s poem is about loneliness. It was the result of an exercise that Dorianne Laux assigned in a poetry workshop. It was based on a Stephen Dunn poem called Tenderness and we were supposed to write a poem based on an abstract emotion. I chose loneliness and turned it into a character, a feeling personified. It originally appeared in the Laurel Review. I hope you enjoy it.
It’s fashioned of fire or charcoal.
It always thrives in the dark,
but it also favors blank afternoons,
the works of failed clocks.
It has a soul, a cock-eyed walk,
a special place it likes to
the socks and the boxers, the job
and the junk mail,
the grasping heart
and the groin.
Is it distracted by money? No,
and it’s not derailed by fame.
Passion is no protection:
lovers know it by five or six names.
you can spot it by color. One claims
it’s the yellow of acid–
another the blue
of spilled ink.
If you try to escape it, it just follows along
like a poet
who is cobbling a language
from what’s left of the human heart.
it has something to tell you, a secret
it longs to share. It’s crying out
for you on the emergency band.
scratching your name on the pawnshop door.