Yesterday, I wrote a poem I’ve been waiting on for almost a year. I thought the bus would never come. I sat at the stop sweating through summer, besieged by dead leaves in autumn, and almost slipped on black ice waiting for it to arrive in winter, but it’s here. And it’s difficult to remember that there ever existed.
I started waiting when Alexander McQueen took his life. His death was the first time I genuinely mourned the loss of someone I didn’t know, a celebrity at that, but it hurt. I spent hours looking through images of his fashion shows, looking at his dresses — no, reading his dresses the way I usually read poems.
Periodically, I would sit down and look at the notes I’d taken on McQueen’s poetry/dresses and try to write the series of poems I had in mind. After a few months, I was able to write “Boy in a Stolen Evening Gown” but though I was happy to see that poem, it wasn’t the one I was waiting on, the bus I needed to catch.
There is no science to this process but it’s not mystic either. All I can say is that the writing poetry is as much about patience as it is about craft. Of course, I wrote poems while I waited. Really, that’s what it means for me to “wait” for a poem — to write my way to readiness.
In the end then, perhaps the poem was always there. Maybe it was just waiting for me to get here.