First, read through some of the thousands of poems you’ve copied down over the years. Do not be surprised when you end up spending the entire morning doing this.
Find this one, by Hafiz:
With that Moon Language
Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud,
otherwise someone would call the cops.
Still, though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect.
Why not become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye
that is always saying,
with that sweet moon language,
what every other eye in this world
is dying to hear?
Think about it, that great pull to connect. Think about how the longer you live, the more your life winnows itself down to wanting only that. Only connection. How it happens more intensely now, maybe because when you feel that pull toward someone, you don’t try to hide it. You talk, you listen, you touch. You don’t hold back.
Decide then and there to build a poetry hut. Ask your handyman friend Doug to build one for you. Laugh when he says, “I would consider it a public service, Alison.”
Paint the poetry hut when Doug delivers it. Dig a hole in your front yard with a spade, and when the hole gets too deep to lift the dirt out, kneel down and dig it out with your hands. Dig it as deep as your arms are long. Be glad that you manage to avoid utility wires and pipes.
Nail the hut to a 4×4 post. Heave the whole thing, hut and post, into the hole. Tilt it this way and that until it’s straight. Or straight enough.
Go buy some Quik-crete. Pour it into the red pail in the basement. Add some water. Stir it up immediately with a spoon. As soon as it’s mixed, scrape it into the post hole and mound it around the post.
Go to Hunt ‘n Gather and wander around the clutter of rooms until you find enough old children’s blocks to spell out P O E M S. Go to Bryant Hardware and buy some blue putty, the kind used to stick posters to walls. Stick a blob of blue putty on the back of each letter block and then press the puttied blocks onto the front of the poetry hut.
Choose a few of your favorites and jigsaw-puzzle them into a columned file labeled Poetry Hut Poems. Print them out on colored paper. Scissor them apart.
Roll them up like tiny scrolls, offerings to the gods, and tie them with scraps of ribbon. Put them in a basket. Make a sign that says “Help yourself to a poem” and put the basket and the sign in the poetry hut.
Peer into the hut every day or so. Realize that 10-15 poems are disappearing per day. Replenish the basket when the supply dwindles. Be surprised and happy when small notes start appearing in the poetry hut, thank-you’s and smiley faces and even a “Haiku 4 U.”
Watch unseen from your porch as a woman with long burnished hair walks by with her dog, stops, opens the poetry hut door, selects a poem, unscrolls it, reads it, shakes her head and smiles, puts the poem in her back pocket.
*Miniatures tortas: A series on poems. Or words. Or felicitous phrases. The title comes from my fabulous decision, a few months ago, to bake a cheesecake in muffin tins instead of a cheesecake pan, then freeze the miniature cheesecakes so that I could have one whenever I felt a cheesecake urge.
**But I’m calling them miniature tortas because somehow that seems better than miniature cheesecakes.