Tuesday, July 01, 2008


It is just July. I am a fly on the wallpaper. The wallpaper is a confusing shade of green. Today I have decided to speak here more fully, not just drafts of poems, but other things. Thoughts about poems and the postage stamp that is my backyard and smells of fermented white mulberries, thankfully not mulberry-colored mulberries, or I'd have wine-stained birdshit on my upper deck.

I love my deck and do not use it enough. I have a ficus, an umbrella, and a plum tree out there, and all of them are still alive. If you know me, you will know that is a victory. This week, I am reading Lyn Hejinian's The Fatalist from Omnidawn, and like My Life and A Border Comedy, I intensely enjoy the reading but find the process slippery.

I cannot hold the water in my soil.

I may or may not attempt to analyze this sensation at some further date. Suffice it to say that it is not purely the associative act that makes her work read for me like a subtraction. There is something effacing about the directions in which the associations and arguments flow. They are not jarring, not contrary, the visuals are often caught in lists that do not correlate to form a snapshot, and the you and the I end up more universal than confessional because their relation dwells mostly in the realms of abstraction and hypothetical for instances, not memories they *claim* as seminal, or defining, or even apocryphal. Some moments aren't claimed at all (the floral carpetbag running through the baggage terminal over and over and over). But let me mull.

The poem as airport (page 34):"A poem/full of ruptures could be one from which all kinds of things are flying." But here I also think sneeze, and contagion. Can a poem exist as an example purely of poetic thought, as an elucidation of one of a poem's properties? A manual of poetic process, but written in the language of the product.

What I *can* recall from my reading is that when I first plucked the book out of *my* carpetbag I was sitting for the first time in years on a yellow schoolbus on a field trip to 'Jungle World' in Limerick, PA (notable for the smokestacks in evidence at its nuclear facility) with my 5- and my 3- year old and multiple other runny-nosed funny shriekers. After a few pages, I felt a desperate desire to record the schoolbus and the concept of the *field trip* as a general category and this one in all its specific oddity.

This, then, is the type of writing that is for me permissive. For that reason alone, I must claim it as a good. On page 35 Hejinian writes, "The guy/grabbed the egg. But is it just simple contact that we want?" I wonder about the prosaic, semi-redundant "just simple" And I wonder how anyone can grab the egg without sending the slime through the fingers like semen (not simple at all, messy), or the hardboiled ova rubberballing down the hall towards the toddler's room where number 17 on his classical mix CD each night gets too loud and threatens to wake him, disturbing our magic hour which I am at this moment wasting.

You must excuse me.

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