Pictures of a Trembling Mind

by Carolin Messier


My morning coffee has grown cold,
my pencils are freshly sharpened,
and I stare at the page
uniformly lined
bound together in Italy
with 200 others.
My hand pausing,
waiting for my trembling mind to awaken
for inspiration to strike
for brilliance to flow forth
in graphite cursive on paper.
Then the tension
in my poised hand
remembers a story I read
of an old man
born with severe cerebral palsy
whose condition prohibits
him from holding a pencil
or a paint brush,
an old man
born with intricate pictures in his head
that he is compelled to paint
with a manual typewriter,
not in prose or verse
but literally, laboriously,
the #, @, *, and ^
struck key by key
with awkward, trembling hand
as elegant line and shading
into something beautiful.
Then this memory,
recalled by the tension
in my poised hand
makes it move,
stroke by intricate stroke,
with awkward, unsure mind
as literal word and laborious phrase
into something beautiful.