When he was small,
I rented a little studio
in a building on Ninety-Fifth Street so I could have a room
of my own to write. The studio was the size of a bathroom.
It was dirty & dark with gray painted floors
& a shared bathroom in the hallway.
I never met another inhabitant, though if I ventured to the bathroom
I occasionally saw a sliver of light underneath one of the closed doors.
The only window in the studio faced the fire-escape
stairwell where pigeons liked to coo & I found that once
I was in my studio, no words came.
Every month I signed the rent check for the studio we could not afford
hoping that I would find an hour’s peace in that space
in which to “arrange my thoughts,” that might then correspond
to a line of verse, or a paragraph of prose.
I don’t know why I needed to rent a studio
in which to encourage words that fought
against my desire to claim them.