Advice from a Poet Who Didn’t Write As Much

You write too much, he said,
you shouldn’t write so much,
you should let this scribbling
linger in the cellar like a fine wine.

You drink too much,
no one who writes so much should really drink,
stop buying the Thunderbird,
stop buying the Paisano in the gallon bottle,
save up for a bottle of good hooch
art is too long for bad wine,
revise, revise.

You drive too much,
stop writing that Thunderbird down the country road,
stop drinking at your computer,
slow down,
put brakes on your fingers like Schumann did,
break your fingers,
this isn’t a Nascar race,
you’re driving a shockless car
over a rutted road.
Slow down.

As one novelist said,
writing is not easy,
writing is crawling naked
across a kitchen floor of broken glass
and coffee grounds, that’s how
writing is.

Of course, she writes too much just like you,
she’s never going to get a Nobel prize that way,
slow down, you are driving drunk
in a shockless car
over a rutted road of broken glass and coffee grounds
and not feeling a thing.

You are naked too
and now you must get out
of that rust-eaten excuse for a thunderous bird
and crawl around in shardy coffee grounded mud
to fix the flat tire with your tongue
and you are too drunk to do it.

Stop taking the aspirin to get rid of the hangover,
you’ve been bleeding onto the page,
stop taking the ibuprofen,
your middle finger should hurt,
use a pen, not a keyboard,
use a pencil not a pen,
use a pencil with row of razors
along the drive shaft,
then erase all that blood that won’t clot,
cut it out, patch it up,
use charcoal, use a stone.

Here write with this stone,
get down on the sidewalk
and write with this stone,
write until you have calluses on your naked knees,
slow down, slug along, get off the tricycle,
you are too drunk to ride a tricycle,
here, take this chisel and this hammer,
chisel your name, that might stay
around if you slow down
chisel it deep, you write
too much and you don’t
have much to say.

Good, you’ve whacked your thumb.