Sunday, October 18, 2009

One Green Tractor

There is no clearer sign of health in a writer than wordlessness, allowing that the writer is a subset of the person, as it indicates you do not have the words to express what your are thinking and feeling. In time, you will, but for now you must live in worklessness.

In this instance, I articulate my interest as a consciousness, even curiosity, concerning the point or range at which a poem, having been written from out of one's experience, thought, or feeling, reenters the world of experience, or if it does; and, if it does, is it in the form of the poem or another form.

I have lived under the assumption that a poem is a poem, that any one thing thing is itself. I have believed that the business of art is to render experience, and that the object of art contributes itself as a thing rendered. But now I mistrust these notions. Let's look at a green tractor, acknowledging the myriad associations that accompany our looking at it. This is more complicated than it appears, this tractor, for in time one begins to wonder where the tractor ends, and the world begins; and so what about poems, which we send out to publish or publish ourselves, or read at public gatherings. At a certain point, a thing reenters the world from which it has called out for examination, as it aligns itself with the examiner.

I mean to suggest, or it appears I am tending that way, that we risk our intelligence, our sensitivity, with a language of perfect ends and understandings. I think the conscience resides in sensitivity and susceptibility rather than in conclusions: that intelligence is in the nature of a state of risk and dismay. That a thing is and can be known surprises no one; that a thing known speaks to its own purpose in becoming unknown should disarm the casual, intelligent spectator.

The objects of our interest may appear to rise from out of the muck of everyday things, but that is a sensory fiction. We arise, in interest, in relation to our sense of ourselves unaroused. Interest is a function of time and purpose, with opportunity to give it depth. Like little sensitive tractors we paw about the earth of our collective experience and raise the dust of significance. No wonder then that we are disappointed when the dust settles.

Whether or not you believe in God, your work is in front of you. I cannot say now when a poem reenters the world, or even if I have captured what I mean by my interest. I am less concerned though about what I might mean, or what I might understand that I cannot express. So, as to purpose, I am in a real sense resolved, if not satisfied. What else would I call work?

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