Like many others on the blogs I follow I have been submitting my writing to publishers. In the push to get some of my work published I’ve come across some of the familiar, old, reliable doubts and fears of mine and a couple of insights that I thought would be cool to share.
Speak what you think today in hard words and tomorrow speak what you think in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today.Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance
Out for a walk and I realize that everything I know to be fact, through careful scientific observation, has been told to me. The things that I assume to be true, through my own experiences and observations, are but a myth.
I only want to write on an empty stomach, so to feel the urgency of hunger. I will sit with only five minutes left on the clock and write ceaselessly to see what it is that’s important to me. To know the pains clearly. To feel the heart beating.
To be able to write poetry successfully I have to do two things: give in to the experience. And give up assigning value to words; stay true to the story; give in to the music within the word. By giving in to the experience of course I mean the experience that gives rise to poetry, which is, of course, a poem in and of itself. I can write a poem about an experience while I’m living the experience, but I can far better write the poem, later, (or perhaps write a far better poem) if I’ve fully invested in the experience.
He’s a fugitive walking through the neighborhood. Trapped in the town he’s running from. Choruses of frothing loam biting at his ankles.
On those silent nights clouds pass by mob-like and at sunset they are pitchforks and torches. But at night, under moonlight; a weighted down hatchback packed to the brim.
Anticipating the getaway is all he has left. Every secret scratched and peeled by the wind, like the one that goes; maybe the dogs love is the only love I ever knew. Poof. Through the trees.
Falling and flailing, it seems wildly, but, in fact its what we’re programmed to do when we’re falling. I can feel the jet streams taking me, not unlike a leaf. I was in the clouds, but now I’m falling and the mantra in my head: trust the ground. This happens every time I’m falling like this. And just when it feels like I’ll be falling forever the ground reaches out and takes me from the air. Like getting smacked in the back of the head. I am absorbed into her, I am her, and then filtered through her. This is when the ground becomes the clouds and I’m dangling with my head in my new set of clouds, waiting to fall again.
We went to dinner, which apparently is what everyone else does on an ordinary weekday night. We sat in a booth, my daughter and wife across from me.
Dad look. Dad look,”pointing passed me.
a bald guy!you know, I say, some day I could be bald.
But I don’t want a bald father!
travelers stand next to 9-5’ers who line the sidewalk, street-side no parking ’til 9 a.m. Music thunders out of the caffè. One couple chats while they wait, everyone else has noses in screens; trying not to be seen; the starlings flutter near the curb. One brave soul, tempted and cautious, hops under the two-person table to steal a crumb. The homeless man, with matted brown ribbons of hair shuffles down the line audaciously looking, or trying to look, the patrons in the eye. From somewhere inside a name is shouted over the music out onto the street, but no one lifts their head. And the homeless man keeps shuffling down the street, empty handed.
In plump raindrops, the construction worker, with his hard hat and faded denim jeans, dirty-orange safety vest, pulls taut a white string that comes from a manhole in the lane nearest the sidewalk. He labors slowly, like a man pulling a semi; like a centaur. With the rope over his shoulder each step is deliberate as he steps, one by one, away from the manhole. Each step a strain and burden. The object, which he pulls is never seen, always out of sight -much like the ones that are paying him. He puts the rope down, puts his hands on his waist, and stretches his neck. Students walk by, some chatting, some not. The sound of cars driving over the wet pavement rise and fall. Now the man begins to descend into the manhole. After not too long, when he comes back up, he has the other end of the string.
We are the culture to one-up each other.
We are blessed, let us rest.
This poem came about from the observation (after a week of listening to the news) that we seem to be only willing to point a finger outward, while completely unwilling to look inward. Increasingly we see, hear, and feel the effects of an ever expanding economy. This agenda doesn’t care for the human spirit. I see these effects in my thoughts of comparing and judging, and putting down in a desperate effort to lift myself up. Beauty is found everywhere with an open mind.