Wednesday, November 3, 2010

dam that i am

I taught myself a writing lesson today. A lonely poet without mentor will resort to such measures, I suppose. At any rate, I thought I would share it with you, Ether, unsure as I am how much or little you might care. And even if you don't, it is conceivable that through your Eminent Diaphanousness, through your sheer veneer to the Nothingworld, some one or another might find my self-tutelage useful now or someday.

It has to do with poetry so I will whisper against discovery by the elsewhere crows. Ha-haw-haw-haw. I can hear them already. Jerks.

So . . . this morning I was reading poems by Jeremy Lespi (a poet too soon gone). While engaged with one on the left side of the page, my med-induced attention deficit had my eye wandering to the right side of the page where in the middle of a different poem, I latched on to this phrase:

"I will kneel on/ some obscure gossiping Wednesday, more/
slowly one wild goose of a year from now . . ."

I did not read the rest of the poem. Did not follow the phrase's thread back to the beginning or continue to unspool it to the end. I simply hovered there. Just above those lines. And it was enough. Enough for the osmotic nature of poetry to infiltrate my mind, to move me deeply even though I was only in the shallows, only ankle-deep and yet . . . and yet absorbed through and through.

The moment, as most will, passed. I went back to the other poem on the left side and finished reading it.

More time passes. I scroll through the Amorphilacious-Antaginons (Facebook). I eat a couple of Toast Chee Crackers, wash down with Vitamin Water, check my email. At this point in my days, I know that I am usually done with being productive creativity-wise. I begin to think of lunch. Of dinner, for that matter. Will I take a nap today or bully myself into practicing my German?
Denn ich bin müde aber ich will auf deutsch sprechen.

Then something peculiar happens. Today is Wednesday, I think. I should write. No, I MUST write. But why? Because it's raining. So what? Well, because I saw the word "Wednesday" a bit ago, and for reasons unqualified I felt the whole world sog my soul, the mere hint of years spent chasing things like rumor and whimsy. All that when there are prayers to pray--genuflections to be made. Other days of the week to hold back--creaking, twiggy dam that I am.

So I wrote, without rewinding or unspooling:

I will write on raining Wednesdays

The wide world notwithstanding,

Though all else speak

More truly.

Today is Wednesday.

Cold and wet.

The gray we’ve invented

To describe the salted blue


Eyes too can be blue,

Salted and grayed,

Mine, for instance, on days

Like today. Skies

Burdened, earthen—

An invisible clay. No,

Not invisible—



I will write them today.

And every Wednesday after

When it rains.

Nothing spectacular. Nothing destined for the chic, slick pages of the New Yorker. Nothing much at all. Except, and here is the lesson, an obedience to the unqualified, a readiness to skip the obvious and write from the oblique, from the opposite page, from the impertinent viscera.
Sometimes, to have hovered is enough. Despite the seeming detachment of the hovering object from the entity behovered (nonce-word), there is that osmotic force, so precious in poetry, that does not require one's absolute attention, that will, given proper gravity, draw one in, suffuse one's unthinking mind, and absorb one in the shallows.

That is all, Ether. That's the lesson I taught myself today. Spread the word in many places. You are good for that, my cosmopolitan friend.

Wait . . . one more thing. I shall call my
poem "Barometer." For today, at least.


  1. would have felt more complete if you would've worked the phrase Toasted cheese crackers into the poem somehow .......totally just kidding......liked it and the title too

  2. Dam(n), you are good.

  3. Larry--maybe next time. thx for reading.

    Rachel--well-played & thx.