I see the question all the time,
“What does it mean to be a writer?”
Almost always asked by those that
have just born their brand new
death grip on the pen and who are
staring done at the blank page
filled with excitement believing just
like the jumpy young colt that
having a savage jockey on your back
won’t be a brutally long trip.
Maybe I’d have kinder and softer words for these
“authors” if I hadn’t spent the last two decades
asking myself the same damn question they have
every day. But I bitch like a toddler whose
cartoons are suddenly silenced after the sixth hour.
I’m no Chinaski. I haven’t truly earned my right
to howl at the micro-meteorite's impact my words
have had on the world. I never endured
my back beaten into hamburger with a razor strap
by my father.
I haven’t lived hard times with women who only
feel combat emotions and wear their years across
their faces like shattered asphalt at an old truck stop.
I haven’t vomited up last night’s radiator fluid whiskey
only to rise from the busted toilet seat and grab a
stale beer to drink into blackness. I’ve never been
one more lost job or my final unemployment
check away from sleeping on a cold park bench.
Hank would probably laugh at my coward’s cry
and chalk me right up there with all the battle green
newbies stumbling through the maze of
words spinning through their heads.
Some days I think during my fire-walk
I’ve fallen flat on my face.
About the Creator
Steve Howard's self-published collection of short stories Satori in the Slip Stream, Something Gaijin This Way Comes, and others were released in 2018. His poetry collection Diet of a Piss Poor Poet was released in 2019.