Thursday, May 31, 2012

sometimes you walk along the straight road / and a hole opens up


sometimes you walk along the straight road
and a hole opens up   you walk around the edges of the hole
curious    and find yourself drawn to the endless depths of its interior
calmly you stand at the circumference of discovery
wondering what would happen
if you took an unwary step   (also known as a risk)
and without shame
you decide that you are old enough now
to make some sort of commotion
you decide you can step out of the stereotype
and the decorum patterns laid down in stone paths of the rigid maps of each stage of life

you decide to step off the side of stable and fixed
and fall into the hole     where it beckons with wide open hands
to jump       to simply fall and let the body      meet with danger
the fall is endless     some sort of cycle that goes on and on and on 
who would have thought that risk is a metabolic cycle
with the bones of the reactants left behind
with the mysterious products of the processes
unknown   the impact might impale you on the rod
of certainty   you might break into parts and these parts
might have to be reassembled but you were never organized
for scatter    eventually each part finds its root and logic
the world returns to the way it was before you jumped

the stones under your body share your imprint
you share the hard contact in broken bones and ruptured organs
flesh is abraded and the fingers spread out in terror
have fragmented      and yet the mind is fierce in its refusal to give into
the moment      when falling      that moment where you entered chaos
the primitive sensation of birth
the passage through the dark tunnel
forces pushing and forcing you through
the final catch by the welcoming hands
the raw surface of dirt as you fell out of safety and into life
and into death

May 31, 2012 Laps


By the time older boy called, it was too creepy out to walk and I had done a half hour of walking at lunch today and so I console myself that I wasn’t lazy—that it was all bad timing.
Tomorrow I will make up for the pallid efforts of today.

making transcripts / taking dictation


Last bit of writing before day ends. I smack my lips as I go through the last words. How yummy it is to be a bit awake and have words to eat! I am reading  a small portion of Thoreau –I haven’t made gallops through his work and I will not pretend that this journal –even though it is an annotated selection---isn’t endless to go through. With Thoreau –there is always something to nourish the mind with. 

Page 4
1838
March 7  We should not endeavor coolly to analyze our thoughts, but, keeping the pen even and parallel with the current, make an accurate transcript of them.  Impulse, is, after all the best linguist, and for his logic, if not conformable to Aristotle, it cannot fail to be most convincing. The nearer we approach to a complete but simple transcript of our thought the more tolerable will be the piece, for we can endure to consider ourselves in a state of passivity or in involuntary action, but rarely our efforts, and least of all our rare efforts.

Henry D. Thoreau  from “I to Myself  an annotated selection from the journal of Henry D. Thoreau”

**
I think Thoreau is saying we should be direct in our conversations.
In other words, instead of trying to imitate experts like Aristotle in our logical dissections of a subject, we would be better served to express our raw thoughts plainly.
If we revive ourselves from the fainting spells of  language with too much effort—this will be too much for us to experience—“for we can endure to consider ourselves” in lesser states of effort but are done in by larger exertions of the will.

I have to agree with Thoreau that pared down language –said clearly trumps all the flowery and extrusive pieces but I have to say that Thoreau’s own language seems rather worked over—as if he had had first thoughts in simple muslins and then put them in more embroidered silks.  Of course he may have simply been able to produce taffeta and velvets from the muslins that others produced but it seems like his journal is not first thoughts but first thoughts pondered over and expressed well and often beautifully.

In this small entry however he seems to be saying that we are to transcribe what the speaker says to us—and in the case of the poet—write out the words the Muse is muttering to us verbatim. I do this all the time and maybe the translation of the Muse’s words requires some more work because what I get from these transcripts of his words is not quite there yet.  I am rather convinced that first words have energy and then they need the wire and the circuit to get that electrical force to do work.

So I partly agree with Thoreau here that we are to take the dictation from the Muse and then I think we need to do revision –something that I haven’t got the brain to do just yet and it is this revision that makes a poem burst into bloom.

in the dirt


in the dirt
the seeds begin to talk together
about    the impossible deeds
they want to accomplish

they sit in their beds
and seesaw between life and death
until  finally  they tear their flesh
and begin the contest     that decides the size of their courage

each flings the cells into chaos
that is the meeting of the self with fear
they extend themselves in their strings of flesh
and reach for the coin that they see dripping  gold comfort outside their bodies

from the bowl of sky that tells them that
this is where they must work towards    they must grow towards that round of heat
they crawl painfully through rock and stone and raise
phloem and xylem cities     that reach for the metallic gold coin that attracts them

they spread their bodies in leaves from their stems
then they shove out their traps for insects and birds to pollinate and eat
they make their flowers and fruit for the others who consume
each time      thinking casually to the beginning where they had nothing to offer

where they had been afraid
of the darkness     the clay around their safe houses of seeds seemed liked the place to stay
until they forgave themselves  then they understood that it had to happen  the swollen pressure
to be more   had gifted them through the hardest part of living which is the birth process 

that is beginning   now it was time to keep growing
they spread their continents of green and made a whip out of their
desire to corral the new seeds in their marching coaches
then they sent them out to make a new history  flying them    with their boulders

of their seed covers   that could prevent their escape
from less   but they felt it was time for their children to return to the wild
and learn to overcome      the fear of the door that is in everything
the seeds are eviscerated from the parents    they go to where the land is hard

and begin the creative act   of growth     which is first about overcoming fear
they spread out their sprays of green and show they can do what their parents did
they pioneer a small place  they lay out their lives so their own children can survive what they did
they do what each of us must do   if we are wise   if we are brave   we must prove

we are able to   push through the door  each time we meet with it
and see what is on the other side    perhaps death   or perhaps growth which are the same fates
but each fate will prove to us we have been good    we have tried to be brave
sometimes when the darkness suffocates me   I think about seeds

how they are innocent   how they are brave
and I try to be their copy   I imitate the green bodies
the cotyledons blindly tapping out a path
to where the world will be won   to where the world be green

work --day # 4


Night is creeping about in the poke of light that is vanishing. Boys still loiter around the soccer field. I am waiting for older boy to call me for a pick up from his volunteer work and I haven’t yet done the work at the YMCA.  I will simply walk about the neighborhood after I have older boy in bed. It is easier sometimes simply to go for a walk about the dark place.

Night walks are odd things because you cannot really see a great deal –it is mostly streetlights, porch lights and the slip of the cutting that is the moon showing her own cotyledon in the soil above you.

The shape of things gets fuzzy and sometimes you lose the sense you are on the solid surface of things. The pavement ends abruptly or you find a forest in front of you. The grasses swish their bodies, the stones seem to speak and the door of heaven is definitely closed.  Each mouth that opens is merely the poems in your head. Fertile sleep is coming you think optimistically. You will be tired enough to sleep and then the poems will not shatter silence with their mutterings.

Here is the day that was worked and done with.
Then the meal snatched out of the fridge.
A curve of silence while I napped.
The words written to some extent.
I will soon go out to get my older boy while younger boy goes into his bed, bath and brushing of teeth done with.
All about me the world preaches darkness.

keep going


keep going
and sip the words as you run the marathon

time yourself each time you write
and do not think about the race and how you do

it is all running
and if you are hurt or struggle to make it through

do not falter
keep going

writing is simply the decision to do
and then doing it  and this might seem frightful

but it gets easier to do badly
at almost everything

if you start and find it is all a splash of paint
on the wall of the mind

do not despair
just write

you will work at this for years
and you will not be afraid to say the work is stinking

because it is
that is the first rule   you must be truthful

and then you work for more years to make it less
horrible    if you think this is the time to quit

I am sure you will do as you must
but I am going to write until

they take the words
and erase the lines

I am going to write
until the door opens

and I step through
and silence    a blank page is all I see about me

then I will know
the final words will be written  I will say “the end” and I will be certain

I have written
all the words I was meant to have said while I was alive

and if words are allowed in
the afterlife   be assured  I will attempt to become

a poet of Death
and say his lines about lakes of hellfire for all the sinners who want to be  poets