by Maddie Ticknor
Maddie Ticknor is a poet and fledgling quiltmaker living in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has appeared in Right Hand Pointing, The Mantle, Susie Magazine, Lewis & Clark College's Literary Review, and Sorri Press's Love Letter to My Therapist. Her poem “American Loneliness” was nominated for The Meridian’s 2020 Best New Poets Anthology. She works at a literary agency.
WHAT I WRITE WILL BE TRUE
from Octavia Butler's "Mortal Words"
I will pause from writing this to go to the roof and snip mint / I will boil water for mint tea / It will be almost 10pm / The heat will dissipate / I will think about asking how much mint to snip and if the plant is even big enough yet to trim / But I won’t ask / I heard recently, at a teach-in at Borough Hall, Direct action is radical because it stretches the imagination / Same as love / I will learn that the bent note is the first dissonance in a song / My bent note is every day / My bent note is going back to my apartment / My bent note is putting my phone down / My bent note is the moment I am scraped back, the moment I remember / I know the moment / The moment I see myself / I will fall asleep feeling uncertain / I will not cling to retrospection / I won’t lose track of things / Love remembers for me, and it remembers for me more real than a memory / Tonight the moon will shine into my room so blindingly bright it will wake me up; I will think it’s morning / I will get up to check on the tomatoes and find skeletons, drooped, parched from the day’s heat / That is a bent note / I will water the plants in the dark / The water will not burn the leaves because the night is cool / I will get back in bed / I will not tell anyone about waking up in the middle of the night to water the tomatoes / Words won’t always work / It isn’t words, they can’t do everything / I’m not afraid of those things / I focus on the systems / I will wake up and start moving with love / My morning will be quick and heavy / I will think about Octavia Butler’s ladder of little truths; the future is radical if I stretch my imagination / I will think about Spicer’s letter to Lorca, Things do not connect; they correspond. That is what makes it possible for a poet to translate real objects, to bring them across language as easily as he can bring them across time. / The poet might not always be able to bring objects across language as easily as the poet can bring them across time / But the poet will try / I will lug my objects across language / I will press snooze / I will make coffee / I will complain when my bike is stolen from my apartment / I will think about the circumstances / In spite of everything I will continue to participate / In the middle of my nightmares I will say wake up stupid and it will be enough to wake me up / Same as love