having fallen
into the habit

through hubris
and sloth

of collecting lines
in my mind

brick by brick
one at a time

muttering like
a madman

in elevator cars
and motor cars

like a man condemned
begging through bars

or a prophet
memorizing stars

i fell into
an ugly sleep

and gave it back
to nothingness

and in an
act of penance

i wrote this
in its place.

This poem originally appeared in the 2009 collection Sixty-Six.