Go back to your childhood and adolescence,
whether meadow or minefield.
the distance you’ve come,
what you’ve discarded or continue to carry
Take a running scrawl at
what’s in the room
or cornered in your heart.
Be alert to the world. Note
the veins of a leaf, the bank teller’s fingernails,
what the people seated at the next café table
are saying to each other.
Remember that you’ve got a vocabulary.
So have dictionaries, billboards, headlines and traffic policemen.
Words are everywhere.
Let a few wander onto a black page.
See whether they react to each other.
If not audition some more.
Words are building blocks
which can be toppled, rearranged, reassembled.
Throw some over your shoulder,
see how they land.
Return to the circus arena
of being playful and precise,
balancing words on the tip of your nose
as you jump through flaming hoops
for opening night in a new town,
far from where you’ve written before.