Where Do You Get Your Ideas?
There's a little shopat the end of each sentencewhere I buy the next one.In a glossy catalogdelivered every monthfrom evil.My ideas come from a cavemy father found in my mother.It was warm, he said, a firealready going. On the wallswere paintings of more mothers.From fire, the word itself fromeverything that could burn usin the moment of saying it.Ask me again. Now ask me whyI asked you to ask me.Really, they just barge inwhenever they feel like it.I haven't finished a dreamin days.The first ones came by ship.Stowaways, they nearly starved.Then someone found a sackof almonds and everyonelived. When they reached port,they could see in the dark.From chumps who aren't using them.From a vending machineoutside the crime museum.From you. Right now,you're giving me ideas.One of them is worth millions.Another is a small harpplaying in your coat. Stillanother is a balcony viewof the parade. There weresupposed to be dancersin flaming hats. You willhave to imagine them.From knowing when to stop.It was a few stanzas ago.At night, I form a churchwith my hands. Inside arethe faces of people I've hurt.If I want to sleep, I mustlook each one in the eye.I don't make the rules.
Copyright © 2019 by Brendan Constantine
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Brendan Constantine is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Dementia, My Darling (Red Hen Press). His work has appeared in many of the nation’s poetry standards including Best American Poetry, Prairie Schooner, and Poem-a-Day. He currently teaches at the Windward School in Los Angeles and, since 2017, has been developing poetry workshops for people with Aphasia.
Editor in Chief / Publisher
Camille T. Dungy
“As everything goes increasingly haywire in our politics and in our world, we stand in ever-increasing need of the emotional and ethical education that great literary magazines can provide. With each issue you finish, you’re more awake, erudite, socially aware, and alert to exciting new writers. What more do you want between two covers, anyway?”
“Tin House is a human habitat, an abode for the bodacious, an apartment for the artful, a bullpen for writers, a castle, a cave. It’s a commorancy for birds of a feather, a condo for the uncommon, a crash pad for the dark night of the soul. It’s a cubbyhole stuffed with language—our digs, our domicile, our glorious word dump—a dwelling for the light inside us. It’s a flat, a flophouse, a hole in the wall, a joint, a lean-to, a mansion, a pad, a shack made of words, doors and windows flung open, a tin-rooved shanty on a island of desire.”
“Tin House magazine is a port in the storm for people who love language. It is unfailingly excellent, and committed to publishing new voices in addition to delivering freaky-fresh work from established writers.”