Sage Advice

Pause. Pause. Do not write
when emotions run deep.
Let the poem have its own

Breathe. Still. Form,
structure rule on the page.
Readers expect things
like rhyme.

Refrain when passions
rise, when thoughts of lost
loves, broken hearts, troubled
minds create havoc and threaten
to mess up the form and weaken

Irate diatribes riddled with adverbs
and purple prose, articles and generalities
no concrete images, just epithets and rage
littering the page with unsavory references
to jealousy and pain, clichéd similes like
fire-breathing dragons that burn down
our love shacks with flames of woe.

Do not let the poem escape as your lover did,
fleeing out among the night’s stars like Romeo
off to Mantua, or Jacob and Rachel, or the neighbors,
who split when the woman ran off to find another,
younger, more beautiful beau.

No, reign it in. Control it’s pace, tone,
syllabic squabbles, until there is no
feeling, no hint of personal anguish,
no life.


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