I read a book once. I checked it out of my high school library; I was a sophomore. It was arranged like this, one concept per line, and it explained infinity. A difficult concept, so only one idea per line. It taught me that one infinity can exist inside another, therefore the second infinity's bigger. And if you add "1" to the second infinity, it's bigger than it was before. I read this book while waiting for our wrestling team to compete. I co-managed the team, and I relished being the one to watch the locker room during matches meaning I could read uninterrupted for a long time. This book both increased, and decreased, my awe for The Infinite, and it did nothing to explain how more than fifty years later I see/feel/understand what went through my head as I read this book while young men in stretchy uniforms grabbed each other's crotch.
Once upon a time–
Time? It’s in two-two, just
beat as you breathe–
But it happened,
like this, like–
I only meant you live time differently,–
No, we’re timing
Where everything happens
it happen? At all?–
Your beatings annoy–
My bleatings annoy-–
So it goes…once…
“After writing a poem, one should wipe carefully and wash one’s hands.”
"Write me poems," she said. "Not that sonnet, rondeau crap. Make it formed, but not formal. Make it happy, poignant, heartfelt." Whew! Tall order. How to commit to words which don't bring despair, don't touch my psyche's crackling third rail? 'formed, not formal'? Wrapped around my neutrality entwine serpents of dark, of light, yet both truthful. One favors pain, despair, sadness. Countering, its mirror favors hopeful, joyous optimism. But it whispers-- 'gainst its brother-- screams less, asks more. "Everything's great!" doesn't cut it. Good news--no news. Seismic shifts, stabs to my heart grab more attention than goody-ness. Problems add edge, life's hoppy bite, offsetting its malty sweetness. But she challenged! Can happiness inspire poems? My life-garden hosts tangled plants, gnarled, tall, choking new growth. Little shoots blossom up regardless, and... Something happens. My ultimate Gardener, my concept of God nurtures sprouts, brings forth fresh flowers striving to vie with woody growths. Despite these new optimistic upstarts, my soul's garden remains wild: poison vines, weeds, burrs, thorns. No apologies. Who am I to question what grows, what does not? Why question my lived reality, denigrate my totality? Are we happy now? Are we mired in hopelessness? Do we focus on pretty new blossoms? Do we ignore the whole? Without yin there's no yang. Without black, white on white. Speak to truth no matter its source. Shuffle the deck; deal ALL its cards. Thirteen sevens multiplies two potent numbers, magical yet at odds with each other. She will appreciate [this].
"I am humblified beyond audaciousness, Transquilified through personal capacity To mentify I had talent."
Glass half empty? NO! It’s upside down! Turn it over. It’s full to the brim!
rewritten…see later post
Raven-black part of my consciousness
Why are you there?
Oh, yeah. You’re me.
I was reminded today of Allen Ginsberg’s definition of an American sentence as English’s answer to the haiku. I’m stealing most of this from another blogger. And here is another bit of definition. Ginsberg felt English needed more freedom to achieve what the haiku accomplishes with its 5/7/5 structure. To write one, use 17 syllables in a grammatically correct sentence (or sentences). One full line, arranged if you like (as I’ve done above). In my opinion, one should attempt the juxtaposed twist in meaning at the end as one reads in a traditional haiku. (Is my photograph a visual twist? “Raven” becomes “crow”?)
I’ve waited more than three months, I’ve written it in prose, then verse, then a different verse, then rewritten the prose. This may be as close as I get, and it’s not to my liking, yet I’m publishing it to get it off the e-desk and out of my mind.
Two Voices Debate
“There are rules,” she said. “Rules rule.” Pitiably, I Know what she means. ============================= Put the colored pencils in Sequence according to height, Says my ten-year-old inner voice. Nice. Now rearrange by color, Rainbow-like. (Look up the spectrum If you must, Kenny.) Now, Place the colors violet through green, Left to right, into your rack with space between, because… Double back the ‘light’ colors from Right to left, ending with red between Violet and blue. Good! But now, Arrange them alphabetically By color name. Now put them Away. We’ve no time to actually Do anything with them. Besides, You’re no artist anyway. ============================= When you walk to school, step Precisely between the expansion Seams of the concrete sidewalk. If there’s a crack, step in the bigger Piece still between the seams. For extra points, step equidistantly From each seam. No care for Mother’s back in all this—just Walking how you color… ============================= Oh, beautiful algebra! Lovely Geometry! Your rules so pristine, Your road to explainability, to All’s-right-with-the-worldness. And Diagramming sentences! Who cares If it’s useless? It’s beauty cannot Be denied! Science, though, Its physics, its chemistry, its Squishy biology stuff, no, Not abstract enough, not In-your-head enough. Too Practical, too mundane. ============================= You have to call her, man. But…today? Is three days a Proper amount of lead time? Would twenty-four hours be Too little? Would it be better if I called in the afternoon or Evening? Oh, why did I ever ask Her out in the first place? “You know, I think I’m not going To go to the prom this year after all.” ============================= ”No, I’m not going to wait twenty Minutes to eat, especially if I have To wait outside. It’s cold.” He drives Off spending forty minutes to Save twenty minutes. ============================= “We could gas up there.” Wrong side Of the road. “There’s one.” Nope. “Too seedy. There’s one!” but, Crap, every pump’s occupied. Ding! Your car says, "feed me". ============================= “Isn’t life too difficult this way?” Asks Creative-Emotive Voice. “Can’t We take it easy? Just roll with it?” Try that. Good too. Shut Obsessive- Controlling Voice into its compartment Deep within one’s gray cells. Overrule Edicts for living, for walking, for performing Every. Single. Act. Of. Human. Existence. “If you’re going to be A Writer, how Do you expect to do it listening to That Guy? Feel your heart surging? Sure you do. How can you ignore it By following these silly rules?” Drink too much. Eat too much. Drug Too much. Watch movies while Neglecting one’s bills, one’s friends, One’s social reason for being… One’s stated creative urges. But: Give Rulemaker his short leash. Gentle grid of rules on fields of Creative abandonment. Create. Create. And create. Short Circuit all words with singing, With photography, with poetry (yes), With—of all things—computer Programming. (“How can I fail At explaining what I do When I program?” Sorry, Dude, no words involved then, No words available now.) ============================= Uneasily, after many misstarts to One’s Life Direction, Let them both talk. Let one Over-rule the other, let one Overrule the other. Blend, Mend, learn Selective Voice Attention Mode. Leaving one Question, one conundrum: who selects which Voice? Who are you? Who are “You”?
(to my mother, a bit, but mostly to me)
It begins like this, this path toward normalcy, the funeral two weeks past: One less beer before bed. Dreams versus nightmares. Willingly entering the jail of work. Discovering your face is smiling. Telling jokes. Wondering why your friends can't get along--then not caring. Considering your life may continue as once it did, an insensitive, joyous expression of "Yes I'm Alive"... Undermining this carefully cultured mourning pose you've adopted. And guiltlessly saying goodbye to it.