Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Arise and Write

Lew Welch is credited with having remarked that one doesn't write unless they're not good at anything else, a sentiment describing writing more as process rather than discovery. The myth of writing, that of determining truths, set in place, that will not diminish, change, or expand upon our writerly consideration of a set amount of data, can frustrate one who wants to nail their reality into neatly arranged contexts, like suits in a closet.

This poem under here, is what we do after we've survived our hubris and accept existence as something that is in flux, changeable, subjective in localized meanings, a phenomenon that will always vanquish expectations, and how we re-define our reasons for taking pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).
It's similiar to shrugging off the disspointments and disgust with the failure of oneself to conquer the world and continuing with what one has been doing, which is to say that one returns to living ,but with an increased degree of involvement; less of figuring out the world and more of figuring out how to live in it.For all the benefits we claim for poetry--spiritual uplift, blunt truth telling, political anaysis, reconfiguring the language--I tend to think that poetry, above all, is a practice that keeps us focused on what's in front of us, what's actually in front of us.

All the qualities are there--irony, wit, enlarged emotion--but what's pertinent in the matter is that is a form that helps us admit that we may not know what life is all about, but we can at least know it's changing shape and appreciate the bends and turns of each odd nuance.

Arise and Write


Every which way but
into the sleeve of the jacket
now too long and longing
as the arm
drops toward the dressing room floor,
one leg longer than the other
and pants a size too small,
it seems you were invaded
and raided and all the faded
jeans and things that are
what you require for work, lunch,

all the points between appointments of
blue pencil marks, remarks in red pen


displaced, asea in unknown pockets
in a pile of pants and shirts
unwashed like mythical masses
arriving at the docks
after passing under
the grey lady’s armpit
and the light she carries, home fires for everyone,



Nothing makes sense
but that doesn’t matter
when work is the word of the day
and the word is first
when you thirst for a drink
and think you have no dimes
nor quarters for the soda in a can
or water in a plastic bottle,

you just hit the throttle and
plunge ahead into the brand new day
full of traps and fortunes
and the terror
an angry typist can bring you

or an empty page
taunts you with,
you rise, you shave, you
put on your cleanest dirty shirt,
you move on,
the streetlights are still on,

the bus is late
and deadlines are all
you have to live on.

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