I wrote this poem in 1999, and sometimes it’s a poem that gets lost a bit, probably because it doesn’t do much to lend itself to recitation. Still, I freaking love it. I don’t remember writing it exactly, but I know the period during which it was written; while I was lost and miserable a lot of the time in those days, I look back and see that I was doing some really important work. That was my second year at State, and I was on fire in a lot of ways.
This is “Lumberjack,” and it is about editing. Understandably, it has been on my mind a lot lately, with the drafting of the novel.
He sits at a desk with a dull hatchet,
stripping ego from the tree of his words,
trying to rid himself of himself,
to celebrate what’s real, rather than the absurd.
He swings and he whacks,
and the blade flatly cracks,
as it knocks away pieces of pride,
and he smiles and he slows,
as he suddenly knows
how much more room there is inside.