I Only Know I Made it Home When I Drown in Your Ghost Light*


Part One: update on the revision project

Can I just say that it’s really fucking hard to continue to revise a poem that needs to sit still for a while?  Not that the revisions are going poorly.  It’s fine, but the poem is at a place where I want to and need to put it aside for a while, forget it for a while, and then come back to it fresh.  I knew what the poem was about immediately after I first wrote it.  What I’m finding now is that I’m not sure what the poem is trying to say about that subject.  Aside from the last couple lines.  All those lines before?  Who the hell knows.  It’s not really about rubber bands, not even rubber bands as a metaphor.  I don’t know.  I think I will restrict my revisions for the rest of this week to individual lines/words.

Part Two: if you stalk graveyards, expect the graveyard to stalk you back

Headed out to Winston-Salem Friday morning for the Gathering of Poets and once there, walked over to Salem Cemetery with my camera.  I made a half-assed attempt at breaking my ankles at one point–descending stone steps steeper than I thought and still slick with Thursday’s rain.  Fortunately nothing broke.  I would have been more upset had I damaged my camera anyway.  I rolled up my left ankle pretty nicely.  The edge of a step cut into my left hand below my little finger.  But I kept walking around anyway.  I didn’t realize that my right foot was badly bruised until Saturday night.  So yeah, don’t piss off ghosts.  They’ll push you down steps.  Which is the story I’m telling rather than blaming my own lack of attention to where the steps were.  And yes, both feet are pretty unhappy right now.

Part Three: the Gathering of Poets

Was a blast.  Lots of great poets teaching and attending.  It’s a wonderful event in so many ways.  I love being able to immerse myself completely in poetry, something I don’t get to do in my every day life because there’s just not that much poetry in banking, and if I spend eight hours a day (or more), five days a week (or more) putting aside poetry (and more) for a job I dislike, there’s very little chance to get that into the craft and theory of poetry.  Not that every conversation was about poetry because of course they weren’t.  Still we always seemed to come back around to it.  Two new poems as result of the weekend plus maybe finally breaking an older one that’s been reluctant to open up.

Part Four: some things are so beautiful they defy any and all attempts to be described in a manner that will share that beauty

IMG_0047Seriously.  What do you do with that?  Trying to put it into poetry.  But the beauty isn’t in the stone and the white roses surrounding it; it’s in the devotion of the hand that laid the roses and pressed the flower to the center of the stone.

Part Five: poetry is a theory

Yes it is.  A theory of life.  Elusive proof.  This was a thought I had during Kathryn Kirkpatrick’s workshop and actually said it out loud.  Somehow discussion had gotten around to the Higgs boson, and I was thinking about physics and theory and how we approach life.  How poets/artists approach life in particular.  Life is a big question.  Our poems or our art are attempts to answer that question–each piece a theory of its own, each beginning and ending of a poem an entry and an exit to the question.  I wasn’t trying to be profound; it was just a little thing that occurred to me.  I was tickled, though, to notice that Michael had written it down.  So I’m putting this small theory down here to maybe expand on later.  It’s something I want to think and write more about.

Part Six:  in conclusion

I’m a rambling mess of a writer, running off at the mouth when I have nothing to say but am only searching.  For something to say?  For something to eat?


*line from Soundgarden’s Taree