Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Poets "need" all sorts of props for writing: number 2 pencil on onion skin paper or ACME fountain pen in Moleskin, antique typewriter or laptop, pre-dawn or late at night. I recently visited the Carl Sandburg home in East Flat Rock. I didn't actually go on the tour since much of his papers and items are packed away for renovations until sometime in January. However, I did watch a video on the house, in the house, strange. It showed the room where he wrote all night long then he napped during the day. He called the room his "crazy corner." In it, his typewriter sits on a portable desk, i.e. wooden crate, surrounded by a landscape of papers and books. Made my own crazy corner look quite tame. I have a poem brewing about his wife, Lillian Sandburg, who wrote poetry too and bred champion goats. Stay tuned. In the meantime, please share your own writing needs and crazy corners.

Oak Desk Ode
J.B. Rowell

At home with hand-me-down furniture,
discount couch aerated by scissors
and spotted with dog-drool.

Hulking compared to grandma’s
barber table, mirrored door
for girl’s play with fingertip key

to open a secret garden
of napkin rings, stale smelling
linens, and ivory tapers.

The oak desk homecoming from
used furniture store, assembled,
three parts stacked heavy into place.

Mismatched nobs, missing handle,
slots revealed by lifted roll top
pre-labeled: glasses, keys, bills.

Colored beads roll in file drawer
when opened, scars of burns
and scratches welcome more.

A poem calls to create the man
who sat here, on layers of life,
granddaughter dropping

treasure between important
files, but no, this is my desk now
dark in the corner as I descend

the stairs each morning
papers accumulating
slots filled with moments

reclaimed as I open the blinds.


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