Thursday, May 20, 2010
into something calmer
Why elsewhere? Why not with the crows. Because it's not safe there. It's hard to write poetry where ca-caws are guffaws. Because poetry needs a little silence to grow. It needs a morning when the rain dampens the spirits of noisome birds and precludes the horking of rock-choked lawn mowers. It needs an afternoon by a breeze-rippled lake, a sun-blazoned lake with herons pegged in algae-shallows and occasional carp nipping dancing reeds. It needs, almost more than anything else, dew-beaded grasses beneath a star-chocked night from which the poet can wring the tasteless, cloud filtered liquor of the firmament. And it needs the firmament, too. For the way it way it sounds. Firm--it sounds the way it is--yahr! firm! (Think pirate if you must.) But then, after its initial lunge, it recedes into something calmer--ament. The word has done its work. It pushed then pulled. A simple machine. And poetry needs that sort of work; and some silence to do it in. Because blurt another word over firmament, say cacophony simultaneously, and what happens? Cacophony, ca-caw, guffaw. Shoo you crows. So where do you go? Elsewhere. Find a little silence. Maybe in a darkened attic with the mice and ghosts, maybe beneath a bridge where the spray-paint cans still lie, spent, breathless after the vandals bolted and the roaches returned, and there's a smell that reminds you of something--something you can write about. Maybe any old where but here. Because here, poetry's just a joke. A bad one. A poet, a poet, and a poet walk into a bar and nobody buys them a beer. Not funny. Not here it isn't. Maybe somewhere else.