This latest effort is one of the strangest in terms of process. I do not have much to show for a few months' work. It started with single block poems, and now I am working on what appears to be something longer at 4 x 3-line free verse strophes per page, tending toward 15 - 20 pages in all I suppose.
That's the physical end of the equation, and perhaps only odd. Stranger is the feeling that I am writing these poems in an air of regardlessness. They seem very oblique, to posit themselves in a context otherwise lacking for perspective even as they shy away from each other. There is little in the way of drive.
The poems are not tired poems, but they seem to me not to be concerned if they were tired poems.
I think I have some idea of what is going on, but I am not sure how I feel about. it. This manuscript aims to be my 24th book. And, with each passing publication, even as I am more confident or sure that the way I chose was right for me, I am more fully aware and conscious of what I lack, and always will: audience, and respect. Only now, I am more inclined to face the uncomfortable truths of my choices and the way I write and publish. Not to put it aside and write but to write fully within that knowledge.
I may be treading on worthless properties or valuable real estate. I can't decide. What do I offer the reader, writing in full knowledge that when I die I will be forgotten? Or, put more accurately, that I have never been known? And therefore, logically, who is the reader of the unread? One's spouse, a few friends, and God, I suppose. Oneself. One's conscience. I, my wife, my friends, we will all die within a matter of years, leaving only God. And God, I suspect, does not care about my writings so much as about how I feel and act as a self and toward others within the fact of writing.
Writing poorly is of course a betrayal of one's self and others insofar as you waste people's time or annoy or depress them. My friends think I write well, and some wonder why I don't make more of an effort to publish my work more widely. Some things have worked out for me, and some things have not. I expect that life will continue in like manner. These books certainly help to pull things together in interesting ways. For one thing, they allow me to assume a point of observation. That too is a point of reference for the issue of form, that it suggests perspective as an inducement toward understanding and, over time, perhaps toward truth.
But now, or just now, anyway, I am not inclined to see perspectives and truths for being inexorable or ultimate or logical or even timely. Perhaps I am searching for some gift in this process I have adopted, something I could call my own that is denied others who are taken up with more present, vital trappings. Something to show for the time and effort of writing. What would that be? Perhaps serenity - to write despite myself, to do so willingly, even happily. To take as little interest as is required to put the words on paper and to see what that leads to (or away from). If my work will not be read, known, discussed, and respected, perhaps it will serve as emblematic or cautionary - of peace of mind or utter loss. Or, perhaps this is all a matter of effect, an excited, erratic beating of wings. It is to the purpose - is it not? - not to have done something that is expressly not to the purpose?