It's okay to lift your pen away
from the flat white paper-face of
an emotionally needy diary
of some sort. Like wide-mouthed
hatchlings whining for a morsel,
they beg, and we, like sway-backed slaves
consent to labor, hefting heavy words in.
But its okay to let them go hungry.
Okay even to let them starve,
for a time, till their ribs show through
their dustjackets. Wait, I say, past
their desperate grimaces, past
even their final gasps. They will
inflate finally, in the fashion of the movies,
exhale dramatically and falter back,
keeping one eye always on you,
watching to see if you are watching.
Do not watch. Wait, and when
your empty notebooks, now
with tight stomachs and sharp jaw lines,
stand and dust their hands on their pants
and say "Fine then!" - then pounce,
and pin them down, whip out your pen,
tatoo them all over once again.