Ghost Town

I went looking for words
and found nothing but potholes—
a sign the road I'm taking
has been too little traveled, 
and not well cared for. 

It slows my pace
to step into emptiness
and to avoid those spaces
big enough to trap my wheels. 

Why take this staccato path, 
with cracked pavement, and
tumble weed rolling on the road? 

Because I am not
driving toward, 
but away from 

and this is the only way
out of the ghost town. 

Abandoned places have their beauty, 
collecting dust. They have perfected
the stillness of death. 

Great for a visit
to catch its artistic charm, 
but only fools hang out there. 

Yes, those hungry ghosts
do love artists. We are
the only ones who stay
long enough for a feeding.

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My usual method of writing is free-form. I write whatever comes to mind, initially without editing. Many of my poems start with a line or phrase that catches my attention and the poem flows from the initial image. Once in a while, I get stuck looking for a phrase or for a line to start and find myself dismissing possibilities in search of something captivating. This is a recipe for writer's block! The best way to write is to simply write, to let the pen flow. This poem came out of one such blocked moment when I finally landed on the line, "I went looking for words..." 

I rarely have "writer's block" although  what I write is often mediocre at best and certainly not ready for prime time. The writing block described in the poem comes from moving away from what comes to mind rather than moving toward whatever comes. Hence the poem took an interesting turn with the idea of driving away from something, which led to the image of a ghost town. There  in the abandoned place inside of me were ghostly words and unwanted phrases that I abandoned. Ghosts towns do have a strange appeal! And those ghosts, with their vague presence, feed off my attention and energy, literally off of my rejection of them!

What kinds of ghosts live in your ghost town? How do you, unconsciously, feed them? 

© Nick LeForce
All Rights Reserved

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