Writing Process
by James Penha

Below the computer desk the dog
has rested his head for a nap
on my bare foot. I want to get up
for another cup of coffee, but
how can I disturb the sleep of this
loyal, loving thing in my life?
my life of trying to be of use,
to be kind, to be supportive even
when discomforted, and so I began
this poem and will keep at it—
adding, cutting, revising, editing
until the dog detaches from my toes
and makes his way to his own bed
or his bowl for a drink of water.
I am still waiting.
Ah, there!

PAINTING: Seated Man with Dog by Nathan Oliveira (1957)


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The poem is, in itself, about the creative process of the poem. Dare we label it… meta? Cappucino is the name of my toy poodle.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A native New Yorker, James Penha has lived for the past three decades in Indonesia. Nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and poetry, his work has lately appeared in several anthologies: Home Is Where You Queer Your Heart, Pages Penned in Pandemic, The Impossible Beast: Queer Erotic Poems, The View From Olympia, Queers Who Don’t Quit, What We Talk About It When We Talk About It, Headcase, Lovejets, and What Remains. His essays have appeared in The New York Daily News and The New York Times. Penha edits The New Verse News, an online journal of current-events poetry. Twitter: @JamesPenha.