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Jennifer Sternitzky

About the Poem:

“Writer’s Block” is probably self-explanatory.

I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember, and like any artist, I experience blocks.

But I’ve always said they feel almost physical, or like a cramp or an itch, when I feel like I can’t get the words out.

And that’s where this piece came from.

Not during a block, of course.

About the Poet:
Jennifer Sternitzky, 36, was born and raised in Green Bay.

She has degrees in English and Psychology from UWGB.

She worked in mental health caregiving for seven years before going back to retail. Once a month she attends Cujo’s Spoken Word poetry night at the Tarlton Theatre, and she’s been a part of that event for several years.

She also competed in the St. Norbert Poetry Slam Thursday Oct. 13.

Writer’s Block
I haven’t been able to write, and it seems a visceral hurt
A gut punch, intestinal torsion
The hand is left dead
lifeless for want of the lifeblood
of words dammed up somewhere above my throat,
though cramped from holding a perpetual fist.
The hand lies limp,
poised and ready to hold the pen, my sword
But put to paper, it’s suddenly empty
Not even a touch of something alive and moving underneath
Is it a blood clot? Or an ink clot?
Words and ink refusing to move past the heart
Past the wrist joint and into the fingers, stuck in the pen somewhere

It’s a deep, painful itch I can’t get at
I may need a screwdriver, or an ice pick
A trans-orbital lobotomy
to open it up
Rub some sticks together in there,
Flint to stone, against the eyeball
to strike a spark

I’ve got nothing
No motivation, no energy, no appetite
No words left for the world we live in
Weariness and fear have taken them right out of me
All I can really do these days is write my name
—the only thing I’m certain of—
over and over for reassurance, for something to hold onto
I try to rework old fragments, but nothing sounds right
Stalled and stunted, temporarily—I hope—paralyzed,
The neural road blocked from head to hand

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