Project Description

The House Made of Words | James Cihlar

If I could take the moment by the throat,
I would pin it down to paper.
Someone’s got to do it,
set the words in order.

When I was six, my home was not
the long living room
filled with cigarette smoke,
the blue eye at the end.

It was there on the front seat
between me and my father
as we took a drive at night
around the bluffs outside the city,
the green glow of the dashboard
reflecting on our faces.

We carried home with us,
into the booth at the truck stop,
Loretta Lynn and Hank Williams
on the wall-jukebox at our table.

When my father left for good
the words spilled like ink
off the edges of the paper.
It would be years before
I began to pick them up
and lay them in a line.

Someone’s got to do it,
shake the moment
by the collar
and say, Learn.

Some day I will have
a house made of words.
It will be all windows and doors,
with the words lined up in rows,
each one leading to the next,
the way the present
wears the face of the past.