I wish to thank the many friends across the country who have written such generous notes and letters of support during and after my short tenure as Poet Laureate of NC. One undeniable positive I am hearing is that poetry has been brought out of the shadows, given a moment in the spotlight. I am encouraged by the heartfelt poems people have written and sent to me. One young man wrote to say that he and his friends have been inspired to write poetry again.
I believe inspiration is the true work of a poet— to use words like paint to make the world fresh, to enliven the ordinary, to render the insignificant eloquent.
It can hide anywhere—look
in the eyes of a spider,
in a beggar’s pocket,
in the far corner of a field,
Sometimes it comes in the night,
a riot of fricatives and diphthongs
knocking against each other
where words muster in a half-dream
head. Delicious words, fat buttery words,
a caramel drizzle of verbiage drips
from universe to brain, flows through fingers,
spills across page, assembles
into lines of lavish full-color verse.
Then, it sits and waits to be eaten.
In a weedy field of a small town,
a radio tower stretches skyward,
like a ziggurat forged by aliens,
a skeleton of cold steel lattice and
wind-strummed guy wires.
But on these high-strung cables
a legion of birds roost toe to toe
like a string of black pearls,
softening the tension in the lines,
symmetry soothing as poetic verse.