How does a poem begin?
once, the poet melissa lozada-oliva tweeted about how horniness and the impulse to write are the same feeling, which could truly be my entire answer. horny is such a good word for it because both horniness and the writing pull (and any kind of desire, really) are often steeped in prohibitive shame. also, horny being a kind of silly word tells me that a visceral poem tug doesn’t always have to be born of momentous dee-sire across an abyss of lack (though of course it can be); it can just be a crush, buzzy and sweet and already dissolving. you can have simultaneous crushes, or crush while also knowing that this one is gonna hurt. “just a crush” i say, even though a crush is never just a crush; it’s a mini incarnation of your life’s larger grief/joy. because what you look for, what you notice, what AROUSES you, all of that is informed by what has made you, what you’ve made.
also, to keep the sexy metaphors going, i think a poem has the capacity to do to us what actor alia shawkat once said (somewhere in an interview for her movie, duck butter) an orgasm does, which is that it’s one of the only times in our lives where we actually forget about death (which is what i think i mean when i call a poem an extra-temporal unit of time).