My Mind is Living in Inca Peru

September 3, 2012

by Elizabeth Van Buskirk

The third day of my solo writing retreat here in the wilds of Maine. All I hear is the cracking of branches in the woods; no one but animal neighbors around. But today when I took my morning walk, I found my hat hanging on a bush at the edge of the meadow. So I do not feel alone.  My mind is living in Cusco Peru.

I figure morning is my free time to sit under the pines, watch the heron in the reeds–or communicate via the Internet, my growing addiction. I stay up to write late into the night. 2:00 AM: true solitude, fully focused under lamplight.

Morning time must not be used to write poetry. As soon as I put up the quickie poem below, I wanted to take it down to redo. Poetry is the perfect medium for us, the revisionists.  I’m here  to work on my book. So I will not pull down a poetry book from the shelf.

I’m working on a story for the book that includes a lot of Inca cosmology (the culture’s world view). Hope it’s not too complex for the collection. But I’ve always said: A good writer can take any subject and make it clear to readers. True of  New Yorker pieces.

First Day

Unwelcome, the new fog quiet
morning, no mountains, no lake, just
the sailfish shows through, the craft
I’m not here to sail. I have my mind
and memyself and the deer of my dog
from her other kingdom. Free will,
the empty page, the new of my doubt.
This I own
another wild beginning blank
in the slow of an early white world.