Wednesday, July 28, 2010

65. Lines and Lines Crossing Lines

That we might learn to weave the pieces of a life together.

Dead tired because it’s harder to write a mediocre poem a day than you might imagine.

Cut a strip of text, and you might have a thread to weave a rug with.

She says, “Lifelong lesions on the skin. Open wound of my body between me and what is,” because she is human.

They were words, but cut on a bias.

Reality certainly lies, but it’s all we have to go on.


I’m noticing, with some concern, how destroyed so many people are, how our lives and our meager attempts to respond to them have done little to make us strong and much to make us weak.

Yours was what we might call a carpet of words.

I believe in death.

I see how fragmented we are, how impossible it is to live among the crazies and not become one.

But I am a poet, when I feel like it, and the power of the margarita is flowing through me like heat.

Maybe we are all horrible poets, even though I am amazed to my core by the variety and depth of talent in these three double-enned women who surround me.

It is the women I believe in, maybe because they are more the people of the tongue, maybe because they are merely supreme compared to us penised ones, like some hanging piece of flesh could ever be bone, could ever have any significance beyond flaccidity.

I wonder, since I am not merely a poet, hating (as I do) limitations, so I am forced (by my perception) to love the work.

When a strip of words crosses another strip of words it creates a kind of sentence.

She told me the other day that she has written many good poems while half asleep.

We are, of course, contradictory, because we are, of course, human.

I am about dominance over the mortal frame, though only mine.

Maybe I just exist, and that is enough for me.

I don’t write to publish. I write to be.

Cut it to pieces to find out what the sentence says.

Did I say I’m flying high on two margaritas and not that much dinner? that I wanted to be a poet but I decided to be a man instead? that I have spent my life (the oldest of six) taking care of other people?

Did I tell you that I have to live in the real world though I have no interest in that? that I am writing a poem (good or bad) every day for a year, because I want to prove I can do it, because I can do it, because so few people can take the physical (and it is physical, believe me) toll of doing it? because I have the words for it? because I will die sometime and I have to leave behind a trace, just a trace, to prove I was here?

Did I ever tell you I am a poet because I believe in the utter futility of being human but in the fact that we are, simply and purely, the greatest part of reality?

Did I remember to tell you that we are tired broken physical beings but that we soar because we have this beautiful intellect, this supreme and debilitating emotion, to push us forward, to make us great?

We are not rock, we are not stone, we are not emotionless animal, we are the apex of reality.

Enough words tightly woven together, and we would have something to stand on.

I try to make people feel alive, to make them feel the process of being alive. That is the gift I try to give, but I often let it slip into a ditch along the way.

Who can bring out images and sound and emotion in a vortex that sucks us down into it?

It seems he is not the poet that Rae Armantrout is, not the poet that Leslie Scalapino (I should’ve struggled to meet her) is, that the remarkable Alice Notley is.

I feel bad about this. It seems sexist to me. But I believe in the women, who understand the voice, something that I try to understand.

I have been controlled by the tongue for word and the eye for word for my entire life.

I was born, crippled, a poet, though I will never be one.

I love my staff, their honor, their hard work, their passion, their decency.

The world is skewed for the evil, but I cannot be that. I have some sense of honor that makes it impossible.

I do what I can.

We are each responsible for the life we decide to live.

This is not a poem. This is life. The opposite of poem.

We are never, none of us, the people we need to be.

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