Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thoughts From the Middle of a Stream

When I was an artist I learned quickly what more experienced artists had learned early in their careers.

If you’re away from your art for a week or so you realize that the edge has gone. The lines no longer echo the confidence they did before. Even if others don’t see it, you do. If you stay away for much longer it becomes harder to find the path back, and after a year, well, chances are you won’t go back at all. The duties of life fill the void you’ve opened, and all you’re left with is the craving for something lost.

I’ve seen writers take that same road to oblivion. Always hoping to get back, but just never finding the time.

I’ve seen it happen in the writers group. A person will visit, full of enthusiasm, and when they read the group is in admiration of the story line, or the powerful words coming out of the poems. Three or so months later they may have added a few lines, or fallen into what Natalie Goldberg calls “Monkey Mind,” and are reshaping the idea until it is watered down and dying. A month later they may have nothing to share, and then they are gone.

There are others who are on fire at the meeting, and they disappear also, but when you see them in the coffee shop they speak of the book being at the publishers, and it is always a time for celebration. They have been home writing.

I know life gets in the way of writing, but that’s not what I’m talking about. For the last few days I’ve been in the woods cutting down trees and clearing the brush so I can at least see the bears before they arrive on the porch for a picnic. I've also been in the mountains discovering new paths. That’s just the way it is, but the poem, the story, the rhythm of words is always with me, and even when I’m tired they call to me. I hope they call to you also.

We live in a woulda, shoulda, coulda world. I have friends who are fighting to get their first chapbook out at the ages of 70 and 80. Don’t keep your poems and stories a secret. Send something to a friend today, and share your heart with them. I pray you’ll find the time. I have seen only a few of my mother’s poems. I am told as her Alzheimer’s progressed she would read them, then tear them up as he sat and wept. They are lost forever. Don’t let that happen.

PS I apologize for the misspellings in a few of my blogs. That’s what I get for posting them from Starbucks and not doing any editing, or letting the computer do it for me. I’ll try and do better. That’s why I have a college professor friend who edits my poems before I submit them. Nobody ever claimed this Kentucky boy was a good spuller!

PSS I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that tomorrow is my anniversary. My wife and I have been friends since we were 7 years old. I have always loved her, and she continues to love me even though I can be a real turd sometimes. She is my conscience, and if I haven’t done any writing for awhile, she steers me back, or reminds me of who I wanted to be when I grew up.

White Passion, Black Joy

I remember a green Volkswagen
white passion steaming windows
on a dark October night.

Your angora sweater
turning my uniform into
a horse hair rug.

After all these years
I see your Father’s face,
smile fading in the light.

Black joy on
a cold October

It Must Be Hard

It must be hard to give me the love I demand.
That yearning to catch up for an empty past.

You must be exhausted fighting off demons I resurrect,
and holding my hand to calm the winds of panic.

I hope my love is enough to give you strength.
It’s all I have.

Robert W. Kimsey


  1. A beautiful and important post. Thank you.

  2. Robert, how fortunate you and your wife are to have that love that lasts and lasts. Happy anniversary to you both. Your love poems are beautiful and they make me weep.