I make things of words
because I don’t know what to make of myself.
I bend them and shape them,
shove them here and there,
soften the edges and shave off the extra,
twist them and turn them,
stitch them together with logic I learned in geometry class
and grammar I learned in French class
and shreds of nonsense I learned everywhere else,
the same way that my dad and my uncles can take a block of wood
and breathe it to life.

Sometimes it feels lucky
and sometimes it feels cursed.
I always hear in my head (dad’s voice), “Leave well enough alone,”
But I can’t–there is always more pecking to be done.
Songs and poems are easier because I don’t have to think as much.
They are like a shortcut to an emotional well inside me
that most days stays tamped down, mostly–
but in a poem, I don’t have to explain it
and in a song, I don’t have to sing it, because–
well, because I don’t sing, but also because–
It just is . . . and yet, once it is out,
the tinkering begins.

I’m not obsessive about it,
but I am possessive of it.
I used to worry a lot about meter and rhyme
but I don’t any more.
I don’t have time, and I don’t think it matters, really,
religious adherence to this form or that,
but it used to matter to me a lot. I mean,
I really worked at it, when I did it–but no more.
Now I save that kind of thing for what I am paid to write,
the articles and blogs and web pages and marketing stuff–
and that’s OK. But still–
the thing is,
I make things of words
because I don’t know what to make of myself.