Saturday, March 21, 2009

Someone Said Forms

I see no reason not to profit from one's misunderstandings. Every reach into the past is fancy. I have come to associate figures and incidents of recollection with emotionally marked values. They parade before me in all their fuzzy, grinning significance.

Who am I - or what would I be - to say what I am, that is not apparent to all, or what holds significance for me that would further explain what I am? And is it necessary to do so? Perhaps I have become a garden variety mere adult, living day by day propped up on the treasures and detritus of an obscure, indefensible history.

There is though an available and popular alternative to merely being, which is to chose to select a past and a form of the past, by which to conceive a form of the present. This takes energy, which is at a premium, and spirit, which perhaps I am too fond of denying myself.

The point, I take it, is to create, not explain. Not unless the explanation is in itself interesting and creative. Or, once one has performed the necessary introductions - which by definition will have been dull, routine work - the floor is open to you. Pity your fatigue or spiritless now, and the doors will close to you and yours.

But even so, I do not have ideas. I do not host concepts, though I am fully capable of addressing the odd construction. I see the value in understanding, in corralling this and that and calling it mine and yours. Somehow though I never quite can get around to this sort of work.

As I see it, I am equal parts filter, reflector, and engine. I possess an urge, I act on the urge. I appreciate the urges of others. I appreciate the significance of other and their contraptions. Mostly though I appreciate people's time, the act of having chosen to spend time writing, let's say, or teaching. I am certain people make a positive difference in doing these things, or at least maintain some part of what is positive.

What is significant in me is perhaps insignificant in others; what is significant in others is somehow lost on me. I will read your poems upside down, for all the good it will do me. While any explanation of myself would sing itself to sleep. I read this blog entry and am impressed that I am a terrible romantic, which says nothing about myself and less about others. And so I write, not to keep alive the question of who I am, but to clear my conscience of all that I am not.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Let me in

I will do you no harm. I will be gentle with your things. I will listen respectfully, even tenderly. I will make you laugh. Let me in.

I have almost no science, and my art is a given quantity. My secrets and my mysteries are commonplace. Let me in.

At the end of a stone wall is a man who places his hand on the wall to steady himself. I cannot tell whether this is his property, or whether he is exploring. I have to go. I have an appointment I should not miss.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

An Autobus

I am almost sure we think less of ourselves then we should. And we think more of those around us than they do of themselves. Not that we are inclined to change what we do, or the way we do what we do, but we deprive ourselves, nonetheless, of consideration and remedy.

I have made an effort, in this condition, to forget what I know and listen to those around me. I hoped, and continue to hope, that this attitude would promote change. I can't see that it has. It has only increased my self disregard, and strengthened my impressions of those around me.

But then, my friends, I am quite certain, are capable of opinions, which they promote and defend. I am steadily losing the ability to hold an opinion, even though, in certain aspects, I feel much more sure of myself. I suppose I could offer an opinion here and there - but I do not want to lose options, or opportunities, or perspectives, that eventually may lead to more of the same.

If I am an animal, and I suppose I am, do I not want to occupy a position affording the greatest perspective allowable by nature? Or, there seem to be real reasons to be skeptical of the choice-making human, who steadily, methodically, eliminates options and perspectives until he or she has attained some absurd, and some cases dangerous, limited perspective.

You may suppose I am after all arguing for what is right, and that what is right is how I feel. But I am not. My initial comments are fully intact: for instance, I believe that my friends, who have opinions, are capable of tremendous perspective. In fact, I believe their opinions grant them a lifetime of option-making and option-selecting. I do not know that I have any perspective at all, except to wonder at what I am missing in all directions.

Of the clearest instances where I am incapable of maintaining a position is in the matter of what makes sense. There can be no limit and no hope for what makes sense in what might and, at this point, surely does qualify as poetry. I have no opinion of what is a poem, anymore than I have an opinion of what is life. If this seems wise, you are kind, or you are afflicted as I am in the ways I have outlined in this essay. You are both - kind and wise - which means more to me than my opinion of what is a poem ever will.

But I am a poet, I suppose, and so I should have opinions. Well, I believe I am purposefully confused, but I am not as curious as you might imagine. I have little interest in reading poetry, for instance. It all seems pretty much the same to me. I like reading what is different from what I write. I mean, honestly, I have been writing for near thirty years. What would I look for in a poem? For instance, right now I am reading Robert Louis Stevenson's short stories. You can imagine they are not like anything now being written, and they are uniformly at least well-written, so I enjoy them. It seems that, if I have an opinion, it is that I should be entertained. Not very poetical of me.

I shouldn't say all poems are the same to me. I like what is spare, elegant, and charming. I like several recent pieces by Litsa Spathi, for example, which you can see at the Concrete Formalist Group site on FaceBook. Like everyone else, I ask myself what it means when I like something. Unlike others, it seems, I have no ready answer to the question, or I am at the short end of a tendency to voice a coherent position.

My concern is for myself, my praise I reserve for others. A long life is made longer.