This week I’ve been finding pieces of writing long lost and forgotten. Unearthing words belonging to me, and words penned by some of my favorite of all literary voices, collected and saved and scrawled excitedly on pages littered with foggy memories of past lives, obscured now in light of all that was and is and is to come.
Of the words not belonging to me, Lucille Clifton’s were the ones I found most often, recounted in notebook after notebook, or inked on napkins from memory during a particularly quiet night behind the bar. It makes sense I would find her again now, as I always do when I’m feeling quiet with so much to say. Her poems never cease to pour themselves into me, make me want to tell taller, stronger, better stories.
And stories for you I certainly have. As soon as I can find them all.
In the meantime, I’ll let Clifton do the talking, especially because “further note to clark” is perhaps my favorite of all her poems. One of them, anyway.
further note to clark
do you now how hard it is for me?
do you know what you’re asking?
what i can promise to be is water,
water plain and direct as Niagara.
unsparing of myself, unsparing of
the cliff i batter, but also unsparing
of you, tourist. the question for me is
how long can i cling to this edge?
the question for you is
what have you ever traveled toward
more than your own safety?