Kill your darlings

Orphans, confessions and artist statements

Today, I press against a story still moving.

I check my email. You are never there.
I do not know who you are.

This dense fist of worries, a mad distance.
Your voice in my ear, miles away.

This is not warning, sign or symptom. This is the artful unravel. 

I write letters in my head. Entire conversations exist in my mind.
We are fine, thanks for asking.

This is how much a letter means: At the post office I can’t wait to open my mail. In the car, I tear open the envelope and enjoy a surge of floating hope: I can do this, I think. This is life, driving home, making dinner, holding on.

Lived so long in gray, I’ve forgotten the taste of heat.

Know your part: In this poem and nearly every poem, I say we. I say all of us. This is false. There is no collective. There is only too much of me.

The postman says:
You look dressed up today
I showered, I say.
, he says, you clean up good.

I have enough ends. Tell me a story of starts.

 - Drew Myron

Kill your darlings, they say (William Faulkner, Mark Twain, and later Stephen King and many others). It's good advice. Every writer has “darlings," lines and passages that shine bright but just don't fit the current work. While I am an incessant editor, sometimes I just can't hit delete. Instead, I nudge my darlings to the curb and hope they find a home in my next poem (or the next . . . ). These are my orphans. I keep them close until they find a forever family.

Do you have orphans? What do you do with your little darlings?