Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I am Blasted from a Laocoön

Where he turns a corner, and seeing that he has been foolishly sad and too-long dismayed at what any one of a dozen earlier versions of himself would have disdained to diagnose, he pretends it all was a joke, this feeling sorry for himself, or asking for help from people who goodness knows have enough to worry about without the sheer caloric output required to empathize with a white, middle-aged, middle-class, self-ordained iconoclast.

There will be no statement of principals. We have nothing to contribute to that category - or we waver & quiver, our little human wreck, in a sea of Principals. Our open eyes - they are blue or green, depending on the light - carry the notes and messages and articles of friends, blushing let-me-mentions and inveighments and assorted perditionables; for ours is the most moral of times, as we are most correct, for science never has been rendered so clear and politics so easily side-stepped, nor right so wronged, wrong so rigid - what else but to agree with the thoughtfulness-sustaining air.

Everything I for so long believed I knew which clearly I for a time have more or less abandoned - and rightly, for I was an ungodly mess - I now give over to my son and his vision, where he informs me of who and what I am. I have before me being right as being honest with respect to what I can do. Today. And so a nine-year old teaches me himself and myself near-simultaneously - unconsciously? I sometimes doubt it. I am too fond of my son to doubt him for my own sake.

Which brings me back, for first principals are those tenets remembered in time across time, how individuals touch, approximate, a definable or expressible limit to understanding. Let's say expressed more or less broadly, literally or metaphorically, through word or musical sound, in paint - politically? (Don't bother me) - but, really, a "first" tenet? What kinds of assumptions are these?

Mine. God forbid I go to my grave, emblazoned across my headstone, "He Stopped for Conversation." Tenets. Well, you faltering nincompoop. Here's another fine miasma you've willed for Us and Others.

There it is, I've said it. Will. I believe in Will. I have seen everything I have lived through, and it has tended toward and continues to support the notion, the central notion - the tenet - that one is capable of will, and that will is the engine of one's destiny.

Destiny. Now there's a term that doesn't get bandied about much. Well, you see there was "Manifest Destiny," which of course poisons the notion or use of destiny. And, really, - aren't we talking about God here? The Christian God, that awful tool of the willers of destiny? Hmmm? Aren't we? Hmmmmmmm?

Well, no. We're not. Though it wouldn't be a bad thing to trot in the Christian God where that trope (at the very least, citizens. Citizens.) might contribute to the depth or flavor of the conversation- but, stay. We say Destiny in the self-same mood or frame or reference where we might say Hope. Now, you approve Hope, I know. So let's stay friends.

Destiny, said a poet (a poet is a person, a person writing poems; a poet is who wrote one or more poems; poems arise from and have arisen from the particular activity or, let us say, fingers of poets), is not unlike poetry, where one falls forward without knowing exactly why or exactly where.

One ultimately is responsible only for oneself.

We cannot not know this.

The agents or precursors of destiny, our models, so long digested and exhausted that the very air, this day, vibrates in accompaniment of their precepts, their Principals, cannot fail us, us all, you and I.

We only can fail them.

What is my role? I imagine I occupy a bit of land off a central road. Occasionally, a traveler might stop and and ask what I am doing there, or what my business is. And I would say - I believe this is what I would say, even here, now, even now - If you do not know what I do, and why, you have no need of me nor what I do.

Pass on, stranger. Pass on.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Poet at Sea!

I am considering an idea for myself and would love feedback. After having spent years testing the traditional routes for publication with sporadic success, while amassing ms after ms after ms, I discovered and opted for self-publication. My Lulu books have isbn nos. and are published through various online retailer databases. The covers feature my drawings. I love my Lulu books. Others say they're lovely too. Fine.

Except that my Lulu books are not enough. They just aren't. I feel flatlined and I really can't see merely continuing with only my Lulu books. I need to publish at least one book through a third party publisher. One would be enough. Same old story, folks. I need to know I can do it and that it has been done. Call it ego, insecurity, whatever you like. I love what I've done - and I need this too.

So - my question to you is this. I wonder if I can pull from various Lulu mss and new poems to form a book, and would a publisher willingly publish that material? And, would anyone publish me, period? I have it in my mind that 99% of publishers would take the form I write in as a sort of personal insult. I mean, it can take the wind out of your sails to be limited to typewriter fonts. Should I try contests? Other avenues? Do I need to build up a fresh batch of magazine acceptances (God forbid).

Related thought: I have an FB group called Concrete Formalist Poetry; I have a website entitled Concrete Formalist Poetry. Should I start afresh with at least the website and just set up a more traditional author site?

Sorry to be at sea out in the open like this. Say anything you like if you have time, here or as an FB message.

Thank you.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mr. Gray's Panoplies

We have been prompted and tutored to interest each other and ourselves, and I value those lessons. Here, as an example, I am concerned to write about growing older - though not about the process - but to share what I hope has the look and feel of an insight or two, and certainly not about any mere fact, for what could be less interesting?

Well, I have been searching and wondering, and at times despairing, as my blogs demonstrate, don't they. And you have read and understood, I am sure, because we make ourselves understood more or less perfectly, one way or another. But even as hard as life has been at times, it has never been impossible. I know this looking back, seeing all that remains intact and even bits of constructive work dotting the landscape. And now I can say, getting older is no picnic insofar as when your mind or body shifts in place and you can no longer do things as you once did them and are compelled to make changes.

This business of shifting and changing, if you are very lucky and can look back at it, takes place more or less throughout one's life, but at certain times the shifts are quite spectacular, and the changes are commensurately breath-taking, so that on looking back we might be pardoned for feeling like we have escaped some real peril.

But poetry, I feel, and writing about poetry, or about life and being a poet, is always addressed to people younger than oneself. Don't you? I mean, after a certain point, what else really matters? So these words may only serve to suggest future road bumps, and perhaps at that time they will have done some work having installed a helpful imprint of what-is-to-be.

With this introduction, I feel I have little left to say. I can't pretend that the changes I have undergone are universal. And it would be unhelpful at the very least to plant an idea of a thing that may never some to pass, or that would distract someone from whatever process is required to comprehend and negotiate their own aging issues. I mean, of all things, I wish least to be wrong. So, I am at a perspective where, once again, I wonder if philosophy saves us or ruins us for other pursuits.

Oh, never mind that.

I am surrounded by work and litter and am somewhat blinded to regret. So I pick out the musts of my present and future life and consciously plan to attend to those things. I apportion my time and energy, for I am a slave to both. I cannot manufacture time and I no longer believe I can do anything I want to do when I want to do it. I accept that I may not do everything I want to do even given the time to do it. I pull back another step (this may have taken years) and say, I will be certain to do what I must do. That will free me from a certain kind of anxiety and may preserve my energies. I can hope for this in the way that other people might pray for world peace.

...but what I do in actuality is think about what must be done and let the rest slide. And when I say slide, I mean slide. I have fewer opinions and less certainty than ever in my life. And why not? What should I learn if not that life/earth/history are endlessly various, that we are all faced with impossible decisions working with incomplete or ill-fitting theories fostered by imperfect upbringings?

I suspect at the end there are many answers and maybe a thank you for participating. The answers come and go and I wouldn't hang my hat on answers. I really wouldn't. That participation thing though. That's big. You hate to lose your handle on it, though you may at times, but there's a way back, or should be. There's got to be. Always. There's always one step you can take toward someone.