Monday, August 02, 2004

Generally, people initially come to poetry in confusion regarding language. Whether they know it or not, they find out soon enough. Who doesn’t have divisions in their consciousness their consciousness lacks the tools to gain perspective on? We all know the wonder etc. of discovering poetry and what it is, what it can do with reality and the reader who brings it to the poem. And these are words, written by another person.

Enchanting. You try it for trying’s sake. And the deeper stabilization one felt, the unity of language and world, you see after some trying is also a destabilization, a destabilization of the self as established in negotiation between you and time. So you try and try, risk it all and find a form. The pleasures of control are the pleasures of discovery as long as balanced with the energy of time, of surprise, of the uncreated coming into creation. You find a form, and have gained a little ground on yourself. Rest.

Eventually everyone gets caught confused because what once wasn’t and desired now is. You have a form, be it of syntax or rhythm and meter or other technique, trope layers, a poetic self of apparent depth and satisfaction. A face where once was unconscious unease. A breadth once not. But it’s not this form, it’s the desire for more which keeps the poetry made. Remember the formula I attached myself to, above, ‘the uncreated coming into creation?’ I won’t hold it for too long,* it’ll get stinky like a fish, but look in its scales—mirrory—if you want more poetry out of yourself, you have to negotiate with time for it, with now, and that means letting those forms you’ve managed to condense out of the hot, the magma so to speak, to melt back into yourself and plunge with them into instability, into the need to recreate yourself and your world. That bad. Or else? Well, you’re a form, a person and not in the strict sense of the word, a poet, as I see it.

That’s just how it seems to me. A visual, like each person is born a ball of magma. Through the years of socialization a form is developed, a crust, whereby the internal pressure has courses through the structure made survives, and yet maintains structure. This is what is called ‘sanity.’ In my experience, poets aren’t those who have the stablest structures, yet have a need for them—and through force of will continually try to create perceptual structures by which they can stably and ably apprehend the world. It works! Then falls. Such structures take a long time to stay, to hold.

Over the years of such creation (i.e. writing poems, successful poems, ones which mediate the in-self, the magma-self, and environment/reality), from practice, like tuning a piano, the structures stay. This is the older poet imitating him/herself. This is the form unblooded by the uncreated coming into creation. Without the energy of time. It is, for all its apparent artistic patheticity, enviable. They have succeeded, they have raised themselves and become, as one critic I forget who claimed for James Joyce, their own parent. They have birthed themselves.

Succeeded in all but one way. They have taken the consolation prize. Better, in my estimation, to learn the lesson of magma-self, of desire, of change and fluidity, and avoid the social creation of self as much as possible. But who can do that forever? Not even Shakespeare, who went silent himself.

And me? God, I’m still trying to get one foot on the path.

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