Writer's Block by Christopher Hynes

Christopher Hynes


In the Beginning

In the beginning, the work was without form,
 and Wisdom was with God and
Wisdom inspired God and the Void
 grew and separated into letters & blocks.
The Word was still without form.
 The letters mutated and shape-shifted.
They debated their form, and still they
 shape-shifted, refusing to be bound
to one understanding, remaining as fluid
 as Creation, evolving from Primordial
Bang, forming and reforming. Letters
 grew too massive and fell
into black holes, swirling about into
 galaxies, spiral & elliptical, structured &
diffused. Writers, poets, work makers & word
 users tried to bind them into books, &
manuscripts and found the words would not
 be still, they morphed and changed—order
size, shape. They looked upon the blank page,
 terrified for it was void and without form.
The Face of the Deep beckoned, pulling
 some under, some to dive deep and resurface
with raw ore they hammered into
 prose & poetry which switched places when
they set down their pen, covered the typewriter,
 silenced the computer. Words will not be bound
into a block, frozen into works, and Lady Wisdom
 or a false, golden mirage will beckon to them,
promising truth and fantasy, who again
 morph & blend and transform each other
wearing the harlequin mask that
 deceives, truth pretending to be nonsense
and Truth revealed to tumble again
 into tumbled blocks of sounds without
sense, falling apart the harder
 the effort to edit sense out of raw
delirium, unprovoked
 by causative agent.

—Jeffery Taylor


The Unfolding

Like cars piling up in a traffic jam,
my thoughts are all there,
trying to express all at once.

It’s not like I don’t have any stories,
it’s that they come all at once
jamming into each other.

Like mixing all the colors together,
like a dam holding back water,
the words build up pressure,

Pushing to get out,
they climb over each other,
fall down, and get stomped on.

Sadly some never make it out alive,
some get overwhelmed,
others just get confused.

While some unite,
old ideas forgotten into new ones,
others just seem to fade away,

Thinking they’re forgotten without
being heard, not realizing the power
inherent in their silence.

When the frequencies separate,
When the light turns green again,
When the dam opens,

We get rainbows of words
expressing feelings, telling stories,
witnessing our many paths,

Unfolding us into One.


What I believe this is telling me is not to resist it, not to name it, not to give it power because it is powerful already by its nature.

Instead I allow, I take a different path for now remembering that there is usually more than one way to get there from here.

Perhaps the way that is made clear is not the way I had anticipated. Yet, perhaps it will lead me to even greater gifts to give.

—Elena Rivera

...outside the box

Drawing by Ken Brown

I is subject
Me is object
Object of trying
To think outside the box
Very hard
I did not have to
Go to Berlin
To be the object
Of the verb trying
Trying comes naturally here
To think - not so natural
Inside the box
Outside the box
Me trying

—Janelle Curlin-Taylor


Disappearing Boundaries

Getting outside of the box.

        Trying very hard.

Where is my body in this box?

                Trying very hard to think.

All I see, all I feel, is my head.

                       Trying very hard to think a thought.

The thoughts           bounce        all around        “in the box.”

Where is my body?

There is no body "in the box"

                      Trying hard no more.

                               The box is no more
                                        Than a shape in my body.


You Are Too Impressionable

"Be still and know that I am God"—Psalm 46:10 
(Illustration for book)

Bruce asked me to go to church with him. Both of my neighbors that I played with went to church every Sunday. They never asked me to join them. Why? Bruce did. I asked my mom. She was taking clothes out of the dryer, and I stood by the door of the utility room. I was framed by the doorway. We were about the same size since she was hunched over getting out the clothes and putting them into a wood clothes basket with wire handles.

“Mom,” I asked, “can I go to church with Bruce on Sunday.” “No,” she said. “Why,” I asked. “Because you are too impressionable.”

My mom was the expert on me, yet I was an Island.  I picked “Island” because I wanted my initials to be “K.I.M.” She named me after the character in Rudyard Kipling’s book, Kim, where the character by the same name was independent and resourceful at an early age. She wished me to be independent, yet insisted she knew me (and others) better than I knew myself. Could we expect less from a psychiatric social worker, raised on Freud?

I couldn’t argue with her because words were not my forte. I felt disconnected from her. As I look back, I see that I had come from a different time and place. I was her son in this life. I was tied to her, but yet what I’m seeing now is the opposite. I was not her son. I had something in me that yearned to understand the mystery of life.

I believed that Hell was behind the fence at the Catholic Church a block away. I couldn’t see beyond the solid brick fence, and I imagined a deep pit inside that went on forever. I later went to that church and marveled at the Latin that the priest recited. I felt that I had time traveled to a place that felt very familiar.

Behind me, in that kitchen, was a man. My mom could not see him and I did not know he was there. He was the witness to my life. I called him up today and asked him how my mom’s “you’re too impressionable” affected me for my soon to be 70 years.

In Zen, we talk about needing to step off a 100-foot pole. We need to give ourselves to something beyond reason. It is the important orgasm that we are all afraid of reaching. Somehow my mom was right. I was too impressionable. But now I realize it wasn’t to new experiences, but rather to finding out who I was. I feel like the adopted kid who wasn’t allowed to meet his real parents. It touched me deeply in one of the Carlos Castaneda books that Don Juan decided to trash his last name. That's where we came from, but not who we are. In the same way, The Prophet, by Gibran talked about how
“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.”
The man behind me touched my shoulder. I was walking down State Street in Chicago and he pinched my arm. I thought at the time he had shot heroin into me, and that I’d somehow know where to get my next fix. But no, he was telling me something different. Remember who you are. Remember who you are. Remember who you are. I say that three times because we didn’t do that last night reading something Buddha wrote that it was suppose to be written three times, perhaps as a mnemonic device to help us remember it.

I used art all my life as a means to tell people who I was and what I was feeling. Yet, it wasn’t enough, because I had kind of figured that out and it (or me) seemed like a closed system.

What I was looking for was something very very very big. Something that encompassed everything. The next week I went to six churches.

And years later, my mom would tell us of her extensive conversations she’d have with the black birds that would come to her kitchen window.

Kim Mosley