Saturday, June 30, 2012

June 30, 2012 Writing Notes

I’ve often wondered how writing happens.  I am not talking about the way we are able to produce writing in schools although that is miraculous enough. No, I’m wondering how all the many books I see on the library shelves “happened”.

Of course a brain produced the writing that eventually resulted in the book that appeared on the library shelves but how exactly did that brain produce the book?

When I sit here and direct my mind to make a poem –am I –the conscious I making the decision to direct all the vast circuitry in the brain to do this single task or is it possible that behind the face there is a small dedicated area of the brain churning out poems?  It is all a mystery to me.

I have in fact, no idea how the brain works. I want to find out but the physiology and architectural design of the brain may still not tell me how the writing of a poem happens for it never seems to be done in a conscious fashion –it seems given.

If I assign a part of the brain the Muse work of making a poem—this seems more real than assuming that I produce a poem with my consciousness.

Every poem seems to happen. It seems like someone else is writing the piece. Since I know this is impossible how is it that writing feels as if I were watching myself doing something I know or feel I can’t be doing?  It feels as if I am an operator of a machinery that functions assembly style to make odd pieces of writing.

Sometimes it feels as if the assembly line could do without an operator  ---that indeed poems happen without a  consciousness.

It feels as if poems happen from the whirring of gears and levers –inside the brain that spit out the ticket that has the most recent poem printed on it. The computer provides the work.  The consciousness simply writes it out –what is printed out on the computer ticket.

It begins to feel as if you are dealing in incomplete truths all the time –parts of a sequence of DNA while the mass of the human genome is left mysterious.

Or like the hands that make the shadow shapes on the walls, the consciousness begins to feel manipulated rather than shape making—instead of being the hands—it begins to feel as the made shadows and then the question springs up –what parts of our brain form the actual hands and the light that make the shadows we write out in our fictions and poetry?

It all begins to feel eerie and otherworldly and I begin to want to go back to pretending that I am in control (the “I” of the consciousness) rather than being one individual in a society of other individuals who is predominant at any one time.  While the others wait in the wings waiting to spear the current consciousness or self and reign in his place.

June 30, 2012 Laps

Did one hour on machine.
Did 15 laps.
Right knee feels yucky.

bird song

the inevitable bird song in the silvery freckles of the Russian olive tree
sound out and the wind blows the pale curtains at the window
sometimes you wonder why you are inside a dark room
when the sunlight is cauterizing silence outside with a bird beak


it is possible to go to the ocean
and believe again in people
but when you return to the land
it is hard to restore this faith

I am not sure how anyone continues in faith
this matter of fishes and loaves
of walking on water   and making the dead rise
out of burial caves

it seems to be the sort of magic
preached by poets   perhaps we are all
interested in poetry after all     perhaps each faith is nothing
but the major poetries of our species

how each messenger comes to say the same words
of the Muse   how each messenger is killed for saying these words
how each messenger leaves behind the residues for a new faith
that is the same faith   which asks that you treat the stranger as you would your lover

poets show us our own faces

solitude is the preoccupation of poets
how to leave the world     and enter the harvest of the mind

they sit in their paper cups     and ponder the world    as if they knew anything
they are the most trivial sentences around     and yet they presume to do the deep work of the spirit

how are we to trust these children with such delicacies?
they wear rags and not suits     and have forbidden themselves the courtesies of lies

we must expect savages in elegant language      their words are swords and cutlasses with which
they spear each other      and the world’s donkeys and asses

they sit in the pour of the sunlight and drink      they dare to preach when they belong to no faith
and they unmask continually our small ordinary defenses against them        they seem to be angels

or devils      when we cannot stand their mocking any longer we kill them    
even then       their words echo in our heads   the silence springs them out of graves

their ghosts laugh out of poems
truth is hard to kill   and even their frozen  words   denounce our hypocrisies

they are the wicked   we have inside us   our interiors revealed
poets show us our own faces      and how are we ever    to put the masks back on again?

forced march

the trees are burdened with the sunlight
they bend under the heavy weight of this color
that blanches their tongues of green and lays down
the needles and leaves in piles

they hold up their wooden splints
and their bandages of green plastic
and hope for water   they shudder away from the
wind’s gripping fists  and they streak the ground with wet prints

as they walk towards the marsh
their lips are coated with sweat and sap
their dragging gowns of feathers and leather creak
the sun burns their shadows  and ashes their speech

they understand the necessity for shade
for cool rinses of rain   they walk steadily in their lines
determined   towards the river   the small puddle of the streams
the ocean where the sun   has been extinguished   a wide red gash at that watery throat

out of their decisions of living words

you must resist dissolution
and not think of yourself as sugar entering water
but some sort of pod   leathery and protective  holding within it
the entrails of self   whatever is retained after wind, fire and water have worked on you

although you are asked continually to be same
forbid yourself this luxury  consort only with pages filled with spells
and enchantments   grant no access to the foolish  and ignore the wicked
the world asks us to be tarmac     instead  post the pod in the dark soil and wait

one day the tendrils of green will smirk out of silence
they will raise their hard vine arms out of water and silt
they will make a wall of green leaves and white flowers  
out of their decisions of living words     will come resurrection