I’ve been drawn to rhyming word things since I was very little, and my mother gave me a 100 famous poems book ( that one ) when I was 10. I don’t know why the poetry had such an effect on me, though maybe it was that it was kind of like music but with its own specific imagination?
I think I was 13 when I wrote my first long poem. By 15 I’d run into modern poetry and just thought it was the coolest way to show words… everything about how the words were on the page just knocked me out. Smarter kids than me were starting to write novels… well, one smart kid I knew, anyway. But, I really liked how you could song in words with poetry, and say stuff better than you could say it in a diary ( boring ).
By high-school I was full-out emo-arty and insufferably shy and private and needy. Today, I’m not so shy.
Back then, you could still read Pound and Burnt Norton and nobody’d care if that was hip or not.
It helped that non-conformists united in secret lunch-time circles and said stuff about jocks. Which is to say that poetry has always been an elitist thing for me, even when I thought we were supposed to write so that anyone would understand us. What were we writing? — what was I writing…? Kind of word-clothing to look modern in?
Later, Chris Brookhouse at Harvard was the first poet to actually see something in my writing that was like future-ability to write poetry. Here I am, in this writing section with jocks and emo-girls feeding jock’s egos, and I’m writing sometimes a very simple kind of self-enclosed song, and Chris defended it against the jock protest that it didn’t talk about serious things. Like, what I began to see was that writing poetry was the xray of your serious, however much you were wound into inner relationship with emotion and wording… that seriousness was how you were hardwired into making words or making hand gestures…
Later, I went through a lot of life and ended up not able to say anything that would cause anything good to happen to me. At the point where words don’t work anymore I started writing poetry. I was 58 years old by then. Either I’m a late developer and with a good vocabulary got from chatting my life away with interesting people, able to construct poems with consciousness… or, it just really takes this long to give up having a life and start realizing one through work. Poetry writing is really hard and painful, really brain-stretching stuff, and so hurtful as you create a space neutral and beautiful enough to see what you really are.
I’m a poet when I’m actually writing a poem. Afterwards, I’m just as much a tourist in the poem as anyone else. That’s why I need this kind of dialog with other poets, to find hints that I was real or not real when I was back in poetry mind.
curiouser and curiouser … the metamorphosis of the last poet
— you see roots of light,
a congregating of stars
and spiral-wings glitter from your startling eyes —
you’re dancing between
time and space m a t t e r s,
while orbiting infinitely
where every round thing begins —
at the skin, along the falling curve,
heat rises in longing swells,
from the center of you,
a red-red beat out of ache —
cold night, you alone, annihilate…
maybe, ‘metamorphosis of poet’, since ‘last poet’ seems to me only chatting about a phrase. getting at the root of the concept, directly into what ‘poet’ means, not what ‘last poet means’… letting that become an unsaid definition. in a story, though, ‘the last poet’ would work… like, writing about some guy fishing or something, turning ‘poetry’ into the abstract and vulgar: ‘an artist in life and in fishing’. to heck with that.
maybe not ‘your startling’, but directly ‘spiral wings glitter/your sparkling eyes’ to merge the images into each other, instead of holding up a poster of, first the one, then the other?
from my position in space, it seems to me that the abstractions of space and time have to be hinted out as a poem, not shared as names. one ( you, for instance, ) goes on about how language is more than words, and then here you are using the label-name derived from the lab to talk about change and distance.
it’s goodness-me that you’ve used image-phrases from my work, but this is your work and my stuff is sticking in here the way the xtian’s used chunks of roman sculptured leaves and horses to decorate the exterior of the first churches… like you were standing beside my grave giving an approval. personally, i think i’ll probably just be dumped in a dumpster in a bad part of town you wouldn’t want to linger too long in… : )
“curiouser and curiouser” is typically used as a comic line. so, ‘metamorphosis’ comes off as kind of a parody, some academic saying these things…
but, rhythm and blues, this piece does mean a thing, does have that swing, and i’m glad to see this here.
thanks miKe — it’s good to see your writes again — you’re write about the curious stuff, but the rest — this-here’s what you’re not supposed to write like, according to some specifications of imagism manifestos — the cosmic-sonnet, the marrying of romanticism and a cynical wit — so, then this is about the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, Q=MCdeltaT, entropy heat death, you-know, that creative-destructive edge, where Higgy dust manifests into first-light, when heat death first begins … hence it’s a cosmic-sonata in the octave of love over the spill into desperate-separations, there, where red-red blood swells from the ache of longing, through the fatal-skin you’re-in, from the very first-born into the duality of actions, and it’s just another memento-mori story where you decide whether or not to die, you decide, somehow a choice between being and never-again, and there in the midst of agonizing worry is the Tuum-est in it, with a cynical iconoclastic wit in it — so the Heisenberg manifesto decides on the turn into a wave of creative-destruction, and you choose, ‘annihilate’
an invertendo-innuendo — in your end, oh
so, jerry, what makes a poem of yours a poem a poem for me, if not my thinking it’s a poem? that’s the point of critique, and what you’re doing is challenging the idea of critique itself. do so: tell me how language comes out of emotion and into poetry. don’t do that sesame street thing that kids do, saying ‘poetry can’t be explained’, because there is this thing called a poem… it’s not a hubcap. why? why isn’t a paragraph in the new york times “poetry”?? because it’s not arty wording??? because it’s not labeled ” a poem “? i think here — and this is way not supposed to be ‘poetry critical dot blog’ — we can not be afraid to say that we’re social retards, that nothing we do is going to be hip for the bubble-gum t.v. raver world. in fact, let’s not even bother trying to get their attention, non?