I’m between novels of any kind — novels-in-verse/novels out of verse — so I’m reading a lot of poetry and writing a poem a day. Usually a bad one. I’m like Mary L. in that I give myself assignments when it comes to producing stuff. A poem a day isn’t that draconian a task. A good poem? Well, that’s a whole other thing. Here’s the opening stanza to yesterday’s poem:

Death wanders into the Guess! store, leaving his scythe outside
for the homeless man and his dog to guard.
That’s pretty promising, but the rest of the poem is awful. I started at eight a.m. or so yesterday, and wrote at the poem off and on until two p.m. when the races came on. I did some errands for my wife (who works like a normal person), talked on the phone, e-mailed my agent. And all the time this poem kept bouncing around in my head. I wrote and threw away six or seven drafts; I felt like a cook who’d made a terrific salad but couldn’t get the entree and dessert right.
Oh, well — better a salad than no dinner at all. It’s hot here, anyway. 103 in Pasadena yesterday. Time to put on my hat and take out the garbage.