The Grounded Man

An imperfect seal around the door.
The cold comes in a paler
whitish-brown creating footprints
not made by men, probably

Rats or opossums.  I sit
shaving. I can’t remember
now, it must have
been a long time

Ago.  A crack in the window
jamb. A shack, not more
than a burnt speck
against the low

Sun on the hill.   Where
did I get this knife?
A man came by looking
for his pet

Rock.  I couldn’t help
him.  Near sundown I approached
a tree and started building
again.

This place is nothing like The Maze,
a way out is always in sight.

—————————————–

The other piece produced during Mr. Logan’s class, around Nov. 1990.  The original version had no references to the Greek myths in it.  The original title was “How to Carve a Hill in the Back of your Hand.”  I still like that title, unfortunately, I have no use for it…. yet.  The basic idea of a man contemplating his mistakes was there.  By this point I felt like this man, unable to make a rational decision about my work, paralyzed by capricious criticism.  I make these points for aspiring writers who have to walk that line between apprenticeship and acceptance.  There will come a point where you will be comfortable with whatever it is you are producing; how you are producing it.  If is sucks, well, that doesn’t matter.  This is what you’ve got to offer and you should be proud of it.  You will never produce your best work with someone standing over your shoulder second-guessing your every word choice.  Once you accept this, it is then that, I think, you should surround yourself with people who understand this and work with you, not against you, in the pursuit of being the best writer you can be.  Mr. Logan was not that person for me.  I’m sure he’s helped a great number of writers, but I wasn’t one of them.

For this version, again I’ve mucked with the stanzas from what they were previously.  An older man’s eye sees different things, different opportunities.

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