The Way I Learned to Write

By Kate Gale Kate Gale
There were words I had to leave behind,
moonlight, backward ponies.
Leaving flowers out seemed safest.
Trying for something surreal,
A trouble free rise of smoke and lavender.

No not lavender. Any shade
of purple is best left alone.
Perhaps a jaundiced smoke
rising in my poetry
would be best, although I like violet haze.

Many a summer morning,
while other folks are
eating bagels, lox,
cinnamon rolls,
I rummage through old cider houses,

find words like obdurate,
bipolar, manic, cold heeled.
But writing about love, well,
not even searches to junkyards
as far away as Peking

turn up the slightest unused vowel.
So, I make words up, create my own language.
You Chinese me in the roofy mornings.
You Japanese my legs in the spidery evenings.
Our children are the leggy offspring

of centipede afternoons. Our bedroom
is the Acropolis. You temple me backward.
I could bless you all the way to shadowland.
If we were not already steepled there,
our undergarments ruffianed off onto chairs.

You catapulted silence,
dogkissed, catlicked my paws
held my squeaks and rattles.
Where the rest had said, What’s this?
You said, it’s mine.

Kate Gale, “The Way I Learned to Write” from Fishers of Men. Copyright © 2000 by Kate Gale. Reprinted by permission of Red Hen Press.

Source: Fishers of Men (Red Hen Press, 2000)

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Poet Kate Gale

Subjects Relationships, Activities, School & Learning, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

 Kate  Gale


Kate Gale is the author of several poetry collections, including Mating Season (2004) and Fishers of Men (2000), as well as the novels Lake of Fire (2000) and Water Moccasins (1994). She is the founder and managing editor of Red Hen Press and editor of the Los Angeles Review.

Gale is the author of four librettos: Rio de Sangre with composer Don Davis which was performed in part at Disney Hall in 2005; Paradises Lost, . . .

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SUBJECT Relationships, Activities, School & Learning, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

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