Sleeping with David Axelrod

The other night, I was so annoyed at myself for waking up at 3 a.m. for the 4th night in a row.  Actually, I wake up at 3 a.m. a lot.  And usually, I have this perfect vision of how to carry out my latest project, or God throws me a bone and I get a fully-formed poem out of the deal, so I’ll reach for my moleskin and capture what I can without totally waking up my brain.  Then I plug in David Axelrod’s podcast, which seriously makes me feel like I’m having intellectual sex with another man while  my husband, who is an intellectual giant in his own right, is sleeping right next to me.   But Axelrod “The Axe” is my secret place, and all the people he interviews are vastly interesting to me.  Let’s just say The Axe is good in bed.  Finally, I drift off, but not before beating myself up for waking up to begin with. Today I realized, duh, WTF do I care?  I don’t have a job-job, I have passion projects– and I’ve made it a point in this Act 3 to live my life so I can wake up when I want, and work on what I want– and I can sleep with David Axelrod if I want so why am I allowing some decades old corporate-culture guilt creep in and rob me of maybe the most creative time of the day?  Right?  So here’s a little poem from the other night.

Writing at Night

The middle of the night
is God’s pillow
where wisps of spun
black cotton wrap around
words so tender
they couldn’t survive
if implanted
in the loud soil of the day.
The middle of the night is a field
of shallow indentations
for poet farmers to gently place
the sprouts of their questions
like seeds of celestial carrots
that only appear in the dark.
The middle of the night
is when constellations of stars
creep downstairs
and show themselves to us.
And if we are awake,
we can coax one or two
to come inside our pencils
and pens and tablets
and hearts
like a feral Maine coon cat
too scared to let a small boy
coax him indoors
during the traffic hours
of the day.

Brook Dougherty 2017