Words are loaded pistols

Words are loaded pistols.
We’re all curious about what might hurt us—
I dreamt your suicide note
was scrawled in pencil on a brown paper bag.
I can hurt you with questions
like silver bullets.
Is there no way out of the mind?
I desire the things that will destroy me in the end.
I have walked through many lives, some of them my own,
and I am not who I was.
To whom do we still drink our dreams
if not to the sluggish
Is there no way out of the mind?
Sources: Jean-Paul Satre, Federico García Lorca, Nick Flynn, 
Yusef Komunyakaa, Sylvia Plath, Stanley Kunitz, Paul Celan

Erika Lutzner

3 Questions for Erika

What was your process for creating this work?

I save quotes from books I like all the time, thinking I will use them down the line. I like to do research as well as for picking out lines that may go together. It’s like a puzzle fitting the pieces together. And then they just click.

What is the significance of the form/genre you chose for this work?

I like to pay homage to writers I admire. They are my best teachers. By writing a cento, I am showing respect to the poet/writer in the highest form I know.

What is the significance of this work to you?

The lines from both Nick Flynn and Paul Celan are some of my favorite lines of poetry ever. So to be able to create a poem from them is thrilling.  To form something new from their words into a new creative piece is what I am aiming for. That the reader can connect to it. Also, it's a poem about words and the mind and for me, I write because I have to; to get things in my head that are troubling, out. Once I have, they don't bother me as much. This poem addresses that.

Erika Lutzner has written one book, While Everything Slipped Away From Me (Calypso Editions) and four chapbooks; three with dancing girl press and one with Kattywompus Press. She has a new chapbook forthcoming from dancing girl press. She grew up in Garrett Park MD, next to Porcupine Woods and behind the train tracks. She now resides in Brooklyn, NY. She is a former violinist and chef and loves cats.

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