A Poem About Writing Better Poems

A POEM ABOUT WRITING BETTER POEMS

The next time you write about a man speaking
to an object, consider whether the object

should speak back. Particularly
if it is an animal.

Particularly if it is a red mongoose who
has just defeated two King cobras who learned how

to dovetail in the dark. Particularly if it is a woman:
try to portray me, she says, as if I were not

naked or in a painting or somehow filled
with red leaves.

You turn the page and continue to write, so
continue to write as if nothing has happened.

The sky overflows with intermingling clouds;
the apples in your kitchen begin to rot;

your cat’s food dish empties, and yet,
you do not care. You fill another page

as if it were only the world passing.
A painter says, try to include an object

that is otherwise out of place,
that is somehow…disembodied.

You write about a woman
without her clothes.

You write about an eye that washed up
somewhere in southern Florida, all blue.

From a swordfish, they say.
You write the disembodied object into her hands.

You can see the reflection
of her face in the surface,

looking off.

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About mckenzielynntozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives and writes in South Bend, Indiana, where she works as the Departmental Secretary of English and World Language Studies at Indiana University South Bend, and remains closely affiliated with 42 Miles Press, New Issues Poetry and Prose, and Wolfson Press. She previously received her MFA in Poetry from Western Michigan University, where she worked as the Layout and Design Editor for New Issues Poetry and Prose and as an Assistant Editor of Poetry for Third Coast. Her poems have appeared in Encore Magazine, Sleet Magazine, Rogue Agent, Thank You for Swallowing, Whale Road Review, The James Franco Review, The Birds We Piled Loosely, and Analecta; and her book reviews have appeared on her website and on The Rumpus. She lives with her husband, their daughter, and three cats. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com. View all posts by mckenzielynntozan

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