As part of the “Occupy the Page: Literary Criticism and Activism” festival held March 18-20th, 2013, members of the San Diego State University community chose a poem or piece of prose that they felt exemplified a spirit of literary activism. This series showcases their commentary, and aims to add to the voices occupying the page. Special thanks to the Hugh C. Hyde Living Writers Series, Associated Students, and Poetry International for their support of this project.
Fire by Megan Laddusaw
Starved and looking for inspiration,
slouching through the desert,
a place as vast as the desolate mind,
with nothing but a faulty pen
to stave off hawks, or make a flame,
he tried to interpret the paper.
The characters printed on the paper
were wasted, it seemed inspiration
for them had gone up in flame,
as if from a sterile artist who’d desert
the demands of his pen
in order to quit his empty mind.
In wandering, he lost his mind.
Crumpled in his pocket, the paper
sat like an animal in a pen
and he blamed his lack of inspiration
on the stifling heat of the desert
and the death of a passionate flame.
He knew if only he could light a flame,
he would not at all mind
the dark, empty spaces of this desert,
where the air was as thin as paper,
and as thin as the inspiration
that refused to motivate his pen.
Suddenly, with agency, the pen
felt as hot in his hands as a flame
consuming the kindling of inspiration
from his lately awakening mind.
He groped in the dark for the paper
under the stars of the naked desert.
His passion, immense like the desert,
made ink flow forth from his pen
as his words flickered on the paper
in the light of the hungry flame
that devoured the fibers of a mind
ablaze with inspiration.
One little flame in an empty desert
is all a mind needs for the inspiration
that moves a pen towards paper.