Melinda Coppola

twenty four may | from the inside out

Melinda Coppola

twenty four may | from the inside out

She Runs On and On, and On


A whole lot of nothing happening here in the Department of Creation of New Poems, and so

I sat down with DETERMINATION and began to write, the way I used to write before I knew what “good” writing was and before I knew some of what I wrote really sucked according to some,

really hit home a few said, before I had thirty odd poems and counting published in journals and a few books and before I swam in teeming small ponds of poemers and got dazzled, really, by the brilliance of the various sun and moon lights hitting their words that were moist—oh, I have a friend who hates that word—before they were cried upon, which isn’t proper expression at all.

A few lines came, and I could hear more calling in a muffled, eerie way that told me they were locked away someplace inaccessibly nearby.

I rose, as in lifted my body from the chair, as opposed to blossoming like a many-petaled being and exuding sweetly scented lines. Looking for the key, I wandered, opened drawers and moved piles of poems and artwork and old receipts and lists of things to do and things to be,I looked and wandered, a good long while (how satisfying that phrase is, chewy and slightly sweet) before I found a key, tried one stubborn filing cabinet

which, in its refusal to open, reminded me of that poetry editor who accepted some of my wordforms into his journal, published and praised and then emailed with what seemed like fervor to respond to more of my poems with words like

unfortunate  tired  common-place  let-down  off-putting  self-absorbed  cliché and immature

and then, oh then a week later he wrote to ask me to be a contributor, a frequent, regular poem donor to his beloved little kingdom of a journalwhich is a nice journal, mind you

and I, a veteran recipient of rejection, a collector of mostly decent declamations from mostly polite editors

was stunned, twisted up, and after all what could I do but decline. Politely, too—not a single word that could be construed as WTF.

I digress, because I really like that word.

Did I find the right key, you might ask, if you’re still with me here

because my writes are long. Well meaning readers get lost I think and wander or run away from all those words that plunk and bounce and dribble sideways and are so damned needy, requiring attention and maybe reflection and integration and other words that end in tion.)

I have keys—lots of them. Some know where they fit and what they unlock. Others languish (ooooh, another exquisite word) in a compartment of the junk drawer in the kitchen, and a few are skeletonish  (is that a word? Could it be?) and live in little coffins storage boxes high up in my office closet because I don’t know and someday I might need.

 My dear, dead friend Marina (who is not skeletonish, not in a storage, because she chose for her body to be wrapped in white, blessed and offered to fire and she left behind many pieces of art which surely spark more remembrance than a box in the ground topped with a named stone)

Marina tells me over and over and over

Write and paint and poem and meditate and breathe and digress the hell out of the time you have left there because that’s your job, woman, just like mine was to love a lot of disparate eccentric souls and make paper in the desert, plant green rooting things in New Zealand, paint squares and rectangles that teemed with bubbles and faded words and  layers of vaguery that made the occasional flowers POP right out and remind people they, too, can love a little flower.

Marina’s art

They, too, can blossom.

 They, too, can be delight.

 They, too, can turn their hearts inside out and pour their goodness forth into the world

 without concern for where it lands

where it roots

where or whether it settles.

 The whole point, she keeps saying, when she pops in like the evanescent visitant she now is with me,

the point is to rub up against all the rough surfaces and experiences you can find, to corrade away the layers that keep the real you from dancing around flinging all your gloriousness up and out into the spaces around you

and then fling, fling away, over and over and keep uncovering your shine and flashing it around filling cups and bowls and do not worry about who will feast on your goodness and who might find it bitter, just keep pouring forth until you can’t

so when you die, dear one, you will go out empty, having left it all on the proverbial table.

Write and write and if it runs on and on it’ll make a river and there are far worse legacies than a glistening rill that greens her edges and trusts her own way down to the sea.


–Melinda Coppola






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