In a digital world ruled by algorithms that feed us the news we want to read, or they think we ought to read, our view of the world ends up so skewed, Marcus, I think mine is just resting on its side.
Those are the synthetic absolutes we respond to in so many different ways, the reality we wear, our straight horizon, our green sky, our renunciation of discernment.
Think of poems them, so slanted, their words are sliding out as they are written. We need upright poetry, Marcus, that creates harsh angles between stubborn voices and pre-conceived truths.
Try writing from oblique spaces, in blunt diagonals, lines that find their own direction, that cross out others. Try lying on your side.
you take off from the sigh of the mountain
those clouds never see you coming
Maybe we are all just marionettes, Marcus, nodding wide-eyed at the end of a glowing digital string. The things we considered certainties now blow around like plastic clouds on a windless day.
Even a blatant falsehood is only as effective as the ignorance or apathy of the listener, isn’t it?
That creates a circle of masked puppets and blindfolded audience who don’t even realise they are in a show together, don’t even know if they are performing or viewing it. Or if there is a show. Or if they should care.
That could be the truth. If you want it to be.
what time is it, I asked the stormy sky
who knows, he said,
tomorrow I swallowed the sun
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