"We might say that three qualities are necessary to write superb lyric poetry. First, the writer must have something of a gift: she must be able to make music, command metaphors, compress sense, write melodiously when the situation demands and gratingly when need be. She must be versed in irony; she must have control of tone. But there is more – a second requirement. She must also have something to say. There must be some region of her experience that has transfixed her and that she feels compelled to put into words and illuminate. She must burn to attack some issue, must want to unbind some knot, tighten it, or maybe send a blade directly through its core."
"Like a doctor, I learned to create
from another’s suffering my own usefulness, and once
you know how to do this, you can never refuse."
"Each day scans and wanes, some hope knowing its moaning
is mourning what it erases. The and stamped by the sea
each second. Be with it and what it erases ceases to toll."
I could sit on your lap forever
I said I could sit on your lap forever
Don’t you even think of trying to get up
Well, you should have
gone to the bathroom beforehand
Because forever is a very, very long time."
"If only you’d been a better mother.
How could I have been a better mother?
I would have needed a better self,
and that is a gift I never received.
So you’re saying it’s someone else’s fault?
The gift of having had a better mother myself,
my own mother having had a better mother herself.
The gift that keeps on not being given.
Who was supposed to give it?
How am I supposed to know?
Well, how am I supposed to live?
”- Brenda Shaughnessy.
193. I will admit, however, upon considering the matter further, that writing does do something to one’s memory—that at times it can have the effect of an album of childhood photographs, in which each image replaces the memory it aimed to preserve. Perhaps this is why I am avoiding writing about too many specific blue things—I don’t want to displace my memories of them, nor embalm them, nor exalt them. In fact, I think I would like it best if my writing could empty me further of them, so that I might become a better vessel for new blue things.
195. Does an album of written thoughts perform a similar displacement, or replacement, of the “original” thoughts themselves? (Please don’t start protesting here that there are no thoughts outside of language, which is like telling someone that her colored dreams are, in fact, colorless.)…