My pen is leaking
ink pooling into my pocket protector
the one I’ve had since before the new math
My uncle gave it to me – I remember
it’s got the logo of his insurance company on it.
that and, now the ink stain.
Ink running through the cracks in the pocket protector
leaking where uncle’s meat thermometer pushed through tight plastic
staining a once yellow shirt
Stopping by the dry-cleaner for pick up
the vendor says she couldn’t get it all out
but it’s better than it was.
Hands me a small plastic sandwich bag filled with strips of paper
the size of those you see on magnets
for fridge poems
“Don’t know where these came from” she says, “****** near ruined my dryer
spinning around there – clogging up the air exhaust”
I whisper under my breath
From the ink.
The words in the pen
would not go unnoticed.
I pay her – grab my shirt, my jacket, my tie
grab the baggie of words
in no particular order
and with the welcome bell’s ding
I head into the street
a very satisfied customer
****** pen is still leaking by the time I get home
It’s leaking tears by now
tears that fill the ink well of my memory
dip and scribble dip and scribble
Thoughts almost painful
or so I thought
Last days on Brunswick Avenue
knowing I would have to return to school
emptying that huge street-facing bedroom
I got a lot of miles looking out of those windows
if I wrote a lot
I don’t remember
Late nights, very early mornings listening to
the hourly chime of that nameless clock
that made up the entire downtown Toronto skyline back in the day
The words that dotted the paper sometimes
sometimes made no sense
my friends politely remarking
“That’s good. I like it” were unhelpful
Further future desperation wasn’t far
just need a receipt or a bar napkin or
a box from a Big Mac ripped into 4x2x1x2x4
whatever I could get my hands on
just trying to appease the leaking pen
from getting too far ahead of my regretful memory.
IOUs, shopping lists, debits to society
love poems, goodbye notes, “I miss you”
they’re all there, we just have to remember what they are
Words write themselves.
The ink, the tears
the blood, the fridge magnets
have already formed the words.
I am the one with the ideas
when I meet a new lover or
fall out of favour with an “ex” – yet again or
attempt to describe three shades of orange or
when I want to remember to pick up pickles
They are stuck in the pen
until I am ****** good and ready
with the roll of the ball-point
to see where the words land this time.
Written as part of a pandemic poetry group from Jun 2020. We challenged one another to various formats and "themes". I think this one was to "write about writing". Alas, the pocket protector and the insurance company are my doing.