Lucia Perillo has a poem in The Atlantic. It’s beautiful and depressing and carefully drawn, and it has to do with sickness, gods, waiting for a nurse to draw blood, mortality, pharaoh masks, and tangs (the fish to the left). In the poem, called “Pharaoh,” she writes:
And because our pain is ancient,
we too will formalize our rituals with blood
leaking out around the needle
when the big gods try but fail
to find the bandit vein.
The poem is born from her experience in a pain clinic, and it once again deals with her illness. To learn more about Lucia, what she writes, how she writes, and what her life as a successful poet is like, check out this interview in Poetry magazine. Here’s a taste of the interview:
But the downside of that, the negative, is something that William Stafford talks about. That is that writer’s block comes from when you set too high standards for yourself, and you don’t live up to your own standards. So his advice for writer’s block is just to lower your standards, which makes a lot of sense. You can start there, at least. You can always fix things up as you go along. But you have this idea of the poem that you want to write, and it’s just like glittering crystal in your mind. Then you go and you write it out, and it doesn’t live up to the crystal. So it fills you with a feeling of dejection and being a loser because you never live up to that first vision that you had.