This poem was inspired by a story I heard on KUOW about a young woman who was doing well climbing the corporate ladder. She had a presentation in front of the board, and killed it. But it nearly killed her: she kept hanging around the room, waiting for everyone to leave, so she could throw herself out the window.
How to Pray No words prepared in advance. Never kneel, defenestrate— a leap of faith will incubate. Bring a poppy, break a lance. Our silver shield bears a whorl and a whore. Your soul is metered in volts DC and in how you treat the very least. A window, cleansed or broken, is a door. Take advantage of the gradient— errant in earth’s intertext, translate this dimension into the next— your song or corpse will be radiant.
She didn’t kill herself, however; instead, she quit the job, and became a successful musician: tours, recordings, awards (I wish I could remember her name). Obviously the story isn’t about her, but the idea of “sing or die” must have struck a chord with me. No idea where the knight errantry came from–but that’s one of the most fun things about poetry, images out of nowhere.