To Want Is Not Enough

To want is not enough…

to keep me,

you must love

your want.

the (not so) wee notes…
– I spent most of last night talking to a friend who is having a total gastrectomy as I write this note. She’s worried about the pain and discomfort that will come with recovery. She fears the pain-boredom combination “will drive [her] nuts” (a body can’t get very physical after stomach surgery). “How do you deal with it (pain)?” she asked me. “How do you keep your mind from wanting to escape your head?” I told her the truth: “I busy my skull with tales. Then, I challenge my brain to remember them until my hands have the time to birth them in ink.”

She sighed… and reminded me that not everyone has my memory. I explained that when one feels like pain is eating one’s gut from the inside, remembering epics is not an option. If you have been walking this blogging journey with me for a while, my Wicked Luvs, you might remember why I started dancing with poetry. I didn’t do it because I thought poetry was easier than fiction *eyeroll*. I welcomed poetry into my life because almost anyone can remember a line or three (pain be damned). The remembering is easy. The hard part is what keeps the brain-housing group busy: I distract myself from pain by embracing all the effort it takes to shape the remembered lines into poetry.

Take the micropoem above, as an example: I crafted the blackout part on a day I couldn’t get out of bed much. When sitting up became tiresome (and torture on my lower back), I put the old book aside, and started to play with the shape of the poem in my head. “To want is not enough” says quite a bit. But I wanted the poem to say more. Not enough for what? for instance. So, I added the 2nd and 3rd lines to answer that question. And lastly, the 4th line to reiterate what it is that the subject must love if she wants to keep the speaker.

Doing that used some time, but… my gut still wasn’t ready to let me get on my feet. So… of course, I worked it some more. I played with the structure, layered the lines so that they would say other things within the poem bit. To me (and to some of you, I hope), this poem doesn’t only say

To want is not enough…

to keep me,

you must love

your want.

It also says:

– To want is not enough to keep me
– to keep me, you must love
me, you must love
must love your want
…it probably says things that I haven’t seen (yet).


That’s the magic of micropoetry (and of all heart-kissed poetry), methinks. Just a bit can say everything… if we brain-love that bit enough.

– while we are on the subject of brain-loving poetry, if you have a minute or 13, visit Poets United, where Sherry is featuring my poem, “How Different We Are Not”, next to the poetic yumminess of Kerry O’Connor and Rajani.

– linked to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads.

53 thoughts on “To Want Is Not Enough

  1. I love this. I’ve found that some of my best poetry with richness of meaning and interpretation comes when I don’t have access to writing materials right away, and I have to repeat and remember lines mentally until I can write them down. It’s so different than writing it down immediately and revising afterwards. A totally different process…

    Best wishes to your friend! ❤

  2. I love that you listed a lot of the possible line breaks, thereby illustrating the potential differences in interpretation of the words. It’s kind of humanity’s blessing and curse when it comes to communication… so many endless creative permutations, and yet equally, so much capacity to be misunderstood.

  3. That’s funny that you approach it that way.

    I used to write in a much more sing-singy way, with a lot of repitition. A friend asked me recently why I don’t write that way anymore and I said,”I can remember what I want to write now without singing it!”

    I thought I was the ony one who used short cuts like that…

  4. Loved the feature over at Poets United, I hopped on my way here knowing your words would inspire, delight and amaze. Its good to write to distract the mind from the pain and knowing you pain doesn’t stand a freaking chance against your delicious poem bits!💖

    Sending loads of hugs and healing energy your way. Happy Tuesday, gorgeous!💖

  5. Thanks for sharing the process. Your micro provokes the reader into adding fillers from our imagination and that can maked us laugh or cry. Which ever way. Its good reading therapy.
    About the pain. Yes. I had my share of surgeries. And at my present age crochet is no longer the first choice.
    Poetry is.
    Wishes for pain free days and more poem vibes to you.


  6. I learn every time I read a poem of yours, but it was great to have the lesson spelled out so neatly on this occasion. The myriad of meaning packed into each word is so cleverly done. Really juicy piece. I hope pain’s teeth get dull and break off.

  7. I love your micropoem, and also the illuminating process notes – though I’m sorry it’s pain which forces you into this process.

    Me, I write poetry because I have to (starting in early childhood). When I was the mother of young children, I had to train myself to hold lines in my head until I could get to pen and paper.

    • When it comes to pain and poetry, I think of pain as a despicable person through whom I met a friend I would never consider living without. Pain doesn’t force me to write poetry, it just introduced me to it.

    • The same way you trained yourself to hold lines in your head until you could get to pen and paper (probably after the babes were in bed), I trained myself to craft plots for stories in my head during those military days when life was all about hurry up! and wait… I still craft plots in my head, but my sexy flesh and bones no longer allows me the amount of time it used to. So, I have to be really careful when choosing what idea to turn into a long story. The brevity of poetry allows me to play with many bits at a time. And thank goodness for that!

  8. Thank you for your explanation Magaly. However there is more too surely and that is to live, to feel the words yourself which is itself a confirmation or approval you give the poem? Regardless of all that it is always fun to visit!

  9. Thank you for sharing your thought process…I just thought you magicked up these yummy pieces from Mangoes and Coffee and Blood…with your hammer 😀 CWS

  10. Very nicely said, Magaly. Yes, poetry is a wonderful outlet of our feelings, long term and for the moment. Of course we must always remember to write for our readers, often we can help meet their needs to soften their hurts as well.
    Congrats, too, on having your writing over at Poets United.

  11. I love all the possible breaks in this poem-fabric. I am finding that micro-poetry sharpens writing skills. (Hope your friend is doing well.)

  12. Such simple words–yet they say everything, or everything that matters anyway…you do this so seamlessly, Magaly that I am in awe. I hate that this force which breathes genius into your work arises from the mucky depths of pain, but I certainly have to acknowledge that *you* have a force of your own to redeem it with beauty and worth–my warrior poet, you are an amazement. And a comfort to me, as well, because these words are like rain for seeds.

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