So, Marcus, does the poet have to be really intelligent, able to comprehend and interpret the world he lives in, clever enough to simplify the complex nuances of the zeitgeist, wise enough to read the tired tea leaves at the bottom of his cup?
Or live on a tangent, dredging his own yearnings, a child of nature disconnected from the random pettiness of the now, laying just his solitary heart out in row after row of blood soaked words?
It is the subtlety of the verse, the interlocked, often hidden messages, the finesse of craft, the unasked questions, the unanswered inquiries that elevate a poem. How can distancing himself from political and social reality, how can the absence of shrewd analysis, the inability to write between lines, to pause long enough to let the reader unearth layer after layer of pure joy… how can the ingenuous, the artless, the rudderless poem make its way to a reader?
Who is the reader?
I know the night has more stories to tell
but the rain keeps falling
but the rain keeps falling
There is no Cinderella poem, Marcus. A perfect amalgam of word and emotion and courage and truth that will be rescued by an erudite prince from the undiscovered dark, transported in a pumpkin carriage from obscurity to enduring fame in an instant. The unread poem just dies, returning to the emptiness one disconsolate word at a time.
Probably depends less on poet or prince and more on a fickle glass slipper.
Magic, Marcus, magic! Even the best of poems needs that bit of sparkling fairy dust, a conspiracy of stars and moon to shine, that cloak of invisibility so it can slip into hearts and minds and be declaimed by birds and flowers in unimagined spaces. A poet has to be part cloud, part rabbit and part magician.
And what happens when the clock strikes twelve?
my secrets have secrets
my dreams have dreams
I know, my poems write poems for them
I see a bookstore, a library and I know there is a book, several, that I will never read. So many things, Marcus, which I will never know. See a map of the world and I know there are innumerable journeys I will never take. And yet that one book or one journey could have meant something, changed my life if I had picked it…or if it had picked me. Life is a random line of stepping stones and we just hop from one to the next, fingers crossed behind our backs, hoping there is an actual destination. Or if this is the real path to it.
Maybe you already finished that one book or took that one trip. Saw the one sunrise that gathered the light of all the worlds into a point in your heart. Read aloud the one poem that drained the seven oceans into that single sound at the tip of your tongue.
I would know if I had. If it had? Wouldn’t I? No?
That’s where the stones take you. Back to that random point. Where you will know. Where it will make a difference.
between one wave
and the next- a shore, a sea,
an interminable wait
And they are looking for ways to integrate biological and digital intelligence, combine man and machine, create the inimitable super being.
Isn’t that the logical step up the evolutionary path? Advanced brain power? All the better to extend life, understand the universe, figure out the meaning of everything….
Think about it, Marcus. A half-human that can read and parse every single poem ever written and in a few minutes find repeated motifs, words and metaphors. Discover what we call good poetry, how poems stimulate the senses, and then in seconds churn out verse after verse of condensed joy. How would we like those poems? Will they make us cry? Give us goose bumps? Change our lives? Teach us to look for subtlety the way the sky smells a rose? Beg us to taste the words and feel the syllables run down our throats? Will that…that ‘poet’ feel the elation, the emptiness, the heaviness of creation? How can that be poetry- with no purpose and no soul?
You know by then the reader too will be half-machine?
but will you still love me,
cried the unbroken sky,
if I didn’t hide a moon in my pocket
Poetry, Marcus, works only when you drag that one thing that you haven’t told anyone, haven’t even dared to acknowledge, and splash it in all its unfamiliar ugliness over the page, warts and freckles and scars exposed to a horrified light.
And then, instead of the overwhelming relief you expect, there will come the realization that it was never yours, it didn’t matter and the past has been just a farcical caricature clinging to a borrowed mirage.
Well then that becomes the burden you carry, the muse that will spring a hundred more melancholic eulogies to time and love and the impossibility of living.
How many times can you spin around that same axis of phantom hurt.
As long as you’re still pretending to write poetry.
even the wind will stop
when it finds an ear
to whisper its last secret
Sheer curtains inhale and exhale the faux summer wind while the sun on a celestial swing. slips in and out of my eyes, as if whatever truths have precipitated from the night are too much to read all at once. Sleep lies curled up in a corner, in a tangled heap of time, a slice of yesterday still hungover from waking, a bit of today still unwilling to stir. How does one describe that time of rising, Marcus, when emotions are so hard-lined, everything seems so definitive, so certain, until the mind surrenders to the opaque fog of yet another day?
When you open the window and let the world in, it doesn’t flutter its wings and sip tea from delicate bone china cups set on lace doilies. It barges in, trailing green slime from an almost forgotten bog, in its hands pieces of tomorrow like a broken Rubik’s cube, in its breath a promise so stale, you wonder at its audacity to persist. The instant it draws you into its churning whale belly, that clarity is clouded by the acrid bile.
I wonder where we can find our best selves then – alone, interpreting the world in the blazing clarity of solitude or in the eternal undulation, caught in the tide of accomplishment and compromise, between the grey and purple, gaining and giving up every single moment.
Can you solve that puzzle before your tea gets cold?
you see the way it works
the caterpillar never meets
They said the pen was mightier than the sword, Marcus, but I suppose the jury is still out on whether the keyboard, or its virtual cousin, is stronger than the drone.
The hands that wield the words have changed…and multiplied.
Not all words are fighting battles, not all need to. Some just heal and assuage, some wander on far away trails like love sick monks, oblivious to everything but the silent symphony humming in their ears.
And some just float in complete denial like brackish lakes of human folly, the sloshing water finding its own pathetic level of convenient ignorance, letting reason settle at the bottom like coarse sediment, the surface reflecting a false blue sky that little darting gill-choked thoughts can neither imagine nor see.
I dreamt the night grew silken wings
until I saw the fallen raven
its lips red with morning