How to Write a Poem

First, eat an apple.

(I sense this is not what you wanted
When you asked me for advice,
But you did ask, didn’t you?
Sit down. This is where we start.)

Eat an apple, but first —
First-first, the prelude to the prelude —
Pluck it from the tree.
Twist and pull,
Feel the elastic snap-crack
And the resigned sigh of the bough,
Ignore the color of the sky,

(Blue is blue is blue)

But remember the sudden give
Of supple skin beneath eager teeth,
The languorous drip of nectar
Pooling in the webbing between your fingers.
Remember the errant tickle of grass
Startling bare ankles,
And the lascivious satiety of fingernails
biting half-moons into angry wheals.

Next, kiss a woman.

(You open your mouth to protest,
But please, please just listen,
And I’ll tell you why in a moment)

Kiss a woman, but first
Catch your fingers on the tangles of her curls;
Trace the curve of her jaw as though she’s a map
Whose contours are winding avenues
You’d gladly lose yourself in.
Ignore the color of her eyes

(Blue is blue is blue)

And the taste of her lips,

(It’s always mint,
Unless it’s strawberries)

But remember the sudden give
Of supple skin beneath eager teeth;
The way your lips feel foreign,
Swollen, beneath the explorative tasting
Of her tongue.
Think, how curious
The electric shiver
of warm breath against your neck,
And how it crackles as her fingers move
Lower, lower;
Hold on to that sensation,
Desire radiating like lichtenberg scars
From the epicenter of a hurricane.

(Now here is the why,
Since you have been so patient
With the esoteric how:

Because poetry is sense memory;
The distillation of sensation
Into precise,

It is imbuement of feeling
With context.

Eat the apple.
Kiss the woman.
Taste sweetness
and desire
and satiety.


Now write it down.)