Excerpt from Inferno – Eileen Myles

“Over the years I discovered it was always good to go. I have a hard time knowing what to do. About leaving. I’d feel I was ready and yet I was too embarrassed to draw attention to myself by saying goodbye so I’d wait, or leave with Tom, or someone. Sometimes I’d just escape, not saying a word. I tried to get over it but it never got any better. I think a poem is like a party. Because it has to end. You’ve got to leave, eventually. Tom knew. I asked why he left so abruptly. I’ll tell you, Ei, he said, being manly. Miming his father. No, I guess it’s him. When I walk into a room, I take a deep breath and when that breath is gone I have to go. There’s nothing left.

The thing is, when you’re writing a poem, no matter what you meant to say or do, when the leaving impulse comes, just finish your line and get the hell out of the room.

Though, sometimes, even if you said too much, you can still go back and fix it. You can actually learn to have grace. And that’s heaven.”

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