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.

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