I don’t care
what other people say
Or that they don’t like
my ideas
or my voice
or the way I don’t seem to hear them.
I don’t care that my words sound obnoxious
or self-important.

I don’t know why
I worry
so much about losing
people’s respect, my job, my life.

I don’t see the coyotes
howling in their night.
I don’t know why or how I came to care
so much
about them.
I yearn for the gloaming,
the bed beckoning me to sleep, to drift
under the covers
in anticipation of their
trilling howl,
conversation, planning.

Waiting at the window
I conceive
a sweep of coyotes
pacing down the street.
the shrieking motorcycles,
the assault
of cars roaring down the peaceful night,
I wish for the
peace of the night
not to be breached by us, only
by them
padding down the asphalt,
closing in
on their prey.

I don’t wish to lose
the innocent,
But I will not
to you
their wildness.

Author’s Note:
Today Leroy and I had our first “writing date.” After being inspired at a writing conference last week, we hurried off to the bookstore, something we haven’t done in a while since the Kindle entered the scene, to purchase a book of writing exercises. So in today’s rainy weather, we trotted off to Panera’s for lunch and a write. Using an exercise from the book Take Ten for Writers by Bonnie Neubauer, we randomly chose exercise 21. Entitled “Don’t” we explored different avenues the word “don’t” could take us down.  Then we each had to choose another number and turned to the next page. Leroy chose 8 and I chose 5. Number 5 had me hand write starting at the outside perimeter of my page and writing around the outside working towards the center.  I had to start with the words “I don’t…” I could not stop writing. If I ran out of ideas, I was to continue to write the last word over and over again until something came to me. We had ten minutes. As with other writing exercises I experienced at the Colorado Writing Project, the first few lines tend to get personal “stuff” out of  the way. Then some magic happened and a crazy idea seeped out onto the page. We shared our work with each other and both of us preceeded to edit and re-write. The above poem is the finished piece, for now.

3 thoughts on “Don’t

  1. Got a chuckle out of 'the finished piece, for now.' The poem was fascinating..reading the process was even more so. Can you hear coyotes? When we lived in Parker we definitely could. Now we are surrounded by wild life and I love it. The first part of don't reminded me of how I felt on my 50th bday…surprised at how independent I felt from other's opinions. It's a good place for a long-time people pleaser like me.

  2. We have just this past two weeks or so begun to hear the coyotes, very close. Living with wild life would be glorious. I hope to ork a bit more on this one. I want to draw clear connnections to my voice and the coyotes. It might end up being much longer.

  3. I look forward to reading the expanded version or Don't 2! I just remembered visiting Yellowstone National Park with my daughter and her middle school classes. We went in February, snow-shoed and stopped under a group of trees to journal…it was quiet and we heard a group of coyotes start to howl. It was eerie how the sound carried through the valley…you know how snow carries sound? Anyway…nice memory. Thanks for the jog!

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