Seeing It Again for the First Time

In a flurry of retroactive activity, I’ve spent several days revising old manuscript poems.

It has been going well.

I have to revise in hard copy, and I have to use a pencil to make changes. Sometimes I pull out whole poems. I’m not afraid of that. They don’t work. I see that now. I lose them and move on. Other poems I rewrite. I have written my poem “Canaries” four times—and that’s not including the individual revisions. That’s that poem as four different versions, incarnations, voices, perspectives, etc.

The hustler appears in each version, his red welt a constant. Then appeared a boy looking down from his apartment window, the moon slicing his body into small blocks through the window panes. Then, disco. Then, nothing.

I pulled out some poems from manuscript 2. It feels good to cut back the hedges.

Manuscript 3 I cannot read. I am embarrassed by it. It is incomplete.

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