Friday, April 12, 2013

After One and the Work in Time

Things are quiet. I ask myself if I wander too much from the purpose of this blog, bound to concrete formalism. Then I look through and see the themes align. So I blog form blogging about other things besides.

Less bombast, less confidence. More located, more certain. The address, courtship, marriage. Where do I begin? What are my choices?

The current work promises a quiet range of pretty neutral colors. So, what is done is not so much a matter of ambition for what could happen with what is done. There is victory in breath. This seems very old to me or perhaps fresh. I write for fresh, but what this is to the reader I cannot say.

No race, or announcement. No sound of the starting pistol, a cry in a crowded theater. I consider myself both a slave and an heir to a kingdom, an ontology and more than that, not of my making. Imagine a word in a dictionary, self-conscious. Something like that. For instance, walking here this evening, a plastic shopping bag blew before me onto a sidewalk a man was cleaning with a blower. Just what he needs, I thought. Then the bag being buffeted down the middle of the street in front of me by passing cars. You are like me, I thought, then dismissed that thought. Just now, going out for a bit, I saw the bag at the door. Ha. Perfect. A sign.

You know, this isn't too bad, is it? A man getting older, a formalist when all is said and done, goes quieter. Certainly I do not berate others for their choices, formal or no. Well, not too much I hope. Perhaps to amuse myself or my wife. To play the part. All in good fun. In short, I have no active complaints.

A calliope. A battering of chimes. Noise in the wind. One noise, where the wind stirs others; or no wind, no noise. Eyes, ears, and opportunity. Slave and brother.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

HOW to Write & be (except) not SUCCESSful

Hmm. Writing poems, or watching oneself write poems is, in my experience, an exercise in continually not so much writing or whatever one might write, but noting what one sees in oneself writing. I can hardly grant it the title of "process." I mean, I have started something new for which I thought, well, this might be something for which I could seek normative publishing, etc.

This was a fine, novel, sensible, adorable idea. Turning then a day or two later to actually writing, and I could do nothing until I thought in terms exactly opposite to any that might appeal to anyone. That is, I sensed a palpable thrust away from what any sensible person would consider as reasonable. I really do hate, hate, hate success in writing. I do not trust it. I do not feel it. I do not like it. I admire it in others, this is true. It is true even at this moment. I admire it in others more now than ever in my life. To publish a "real" book, to be reviewed, respected. I would like this. But for some more purposeful reason or cause, such a purpose is a non-starter. I cannot write with any desire to be admired, enjoyed, respected, or remembered. I cannot be annoying even to be successful or enjoyed. I will write whatever I can to avoid exactly any success. I will write this:

I had a cat named red carnation
whoz paws were white as hemlock
blossoms. Every day I am  a bit
fallen apart so in and out. The
temple stood despite the clouds
and the fire, then it fell like
a solitary hemlock petal. You &
I are making good time and over
the hill seas. Stay speaking my
heart says stay says Peter stay
this will be short work fr once
This poem, as I understand that term, is a perfect map of critical failure on multiple levels. It is what I live for. To express oneself in art as falling off a cliff, over and over again, only to brush oneself off, ascend the purported heights of poesie, and do it again. That is no mean task! Rudeness is easy. No, the art is in not advertising one's purpose and yet, coming clear. And so the trailings or detritus (symptoms) of sense infiltrate and abide. Like light. Campfire and the scent of magnolia. Hah!
Perhaps I do too much to please otherwise in my life? But, no. I have always been like this, blah blah. I love writing these poems. I love writing them and sharing them and publishing decent coherent books that few read, though those that do are my dearest friends, including my wonderful wife, Endi.
One more notion. I actually think everyone who knows my work to whatever degree pretty much understands all this about me and my writing, in more or fewer or different words, of course. That is, I resist the notion that I am some kind of  gatekeeper to the Secret of Me.  No. No no no. No no no, not at all. No.
I will say, this is the tempo. Everything else is color.

Monday, April 1, 2013

How to Play on Deck

In retrospect it all makes sense. Of course. It is almost always a surprise how these MSS come together and this one is too.

I assembled all new work and all un[self]published poems, going back a couple years or more. Waiting for the right time I put together a 70-odd page MS. It will be titled "How to Play." My 23rd MS.

But really this is a weird one. It has loose range and/ or focus. There is some ironing out to do with some lines but the arrangement is very close. It allows me to burn the stuff that was in abeyance knowing it will not go anywhere, so, my desk will be clean. Surprisingly clean.

So odd. I was lost and now I am clear. I do not have theories. Except that it's interesting in that my focus is writing in a particular form, publishing what I write...and that is all. I mean, the process seems to revolve on  those twin axes with only whispering interference from other considerations. If two axes, really. Poetic form is a kind of form or procedure as is publishing, self or otherwise - as I suppose are the other considerations of which I am mainly exempt.

But like I said, there is ironing out to do, and the cover art, which should be a snap as usual. After that, who knows. I certainly do not. I am older than I was. I should know more, and maybe I do. Not that I am eager to remember myself as I am now or will be. So, the MSS surprise me. This is not a complaint. It is a shoulder shrug and an open question.