Wednesday, May 16, 2007


THE LIGHT SANG AS IT LEFT YOUR EYES is my Fall book to be released by Marsh Hawk Press -- this is the book I wrote "After" my father's death. Well, the book designer emailed today to say that the sections about my father had her crying. This is a designer who reads the text closely to shape her designs...

One could say that her tears attest to the book's effectiveness.

Or, I could say that my eyes suddenly dampened at reading her wish that I never had to write that book.

The book, as some of my collaborators know, sometimes becomes the poet's body.

Once, I was a toddler swinging bare legs over my father's knee. Now, I am this book.

To become a book is to die. I miss Daddy, and I am dying...


UPDATE: This is such a beautiful response by Ernesto Priego that I'm not just pointing you to the LINK but replicating it here, the blog my only surviving file cabinet (and thanks to Ernesto for such succoring words):

Unmixed Purity (Another Paradox)
May 17th, 2007

There is a degree of pain on reaching which we lose the world. But afterwards peace comes. And if the paroxysm returns, so does the peace which follow it. If we realize this, that very degree of pain turns into an expectation of peace, and as a result does not break our contact with the world.
[from Meaning of the Universe]

Poetry: impossible pain and joy. A poignant touch, nostalgia. Such is Provençal and English poetry. A joy which by reason of its unmixed purity hurts, a pain which by reason of its unmixed purity brings peace.
[from Beauty]-Simone Weil

The poet’s paradox:

“To become a book is to die. I miss Daddy, and I am dying…”

To become a book is to live. There is only equilibrium in action by which woman recreates her own life through work, her life & that of those she loves. The experience of loss forces us to change the relationship between our bodies and the world: “let the whole universe be for me, in relation to my body, what the stick of a blind man is in relation to his hand.” An apprenticeship is, indeed, necessary. “Getting hurt: this is the trade entering into the body”. The trade of the poet enters the body through pain: the poet’s trade is to turn her life, her body and soul and soul and body, into book. The poet cannot become book without affliction. But this becoming book of the poet is nothing but the human condition par excellance, achieved through skill and apprenticeship, through effort and work. “A transference of the consciousness into an object other than the body itself”: the book. The poet becomes book to detach herself from a loved one only to find that she has attached herself to the whole universe. The individual I of personal affliction becomes an universal I: that’s why someone else can cry by reading your book, touching your body, feeling the whole universe enter into the body: “the seasons, the sun, the stars.” The poet becomes book in an attempt to find an equilibrium between herself and the surrounding forces of nature. “Truth is on the side of death”: the poet endures the void, experiences it, struggles and works with it. Truth is beauty and beauty is truth: the poet becomes the book that becomes beauty by accepting death. Thus, to become a book is, indeed, to die, in present continuous, we are all dying, right now, as I write this and as you read this, yes, but the poet’s paradox (the human being’s paradox) is precisely this: to become a book is to live. To stop being the singular body to become a part of the whole. To communicate experience, to do the cosmic dance with the fleeting stars. To become a book is to live. We miss the absent ones, yes, but we are living: that is the beginning of writing.