Friday, February 06, 2009


            (writ during John Williams performing Stanley Myers' "Cavatina" on guitar)

I was hijacked into Poetry. But from that instant, Poetry also took care of me.

This week, I received a major rejection....only to discover later in the week that a major boon would not have been possible without that earlier rejection.

In Poetry, the poet always wins the poker game if the poet always bets the entire pot and more, especially objects not owned or known.

Listen: in Poetry, I have voluntarily leapt off all the cliffs I've come across (though not initially from courage but from thumbing one's nose at the world). Not once -- not once! -- have I never not flown.

Listen to me, Young Poet. There are all sorts of bees and other insects ever buzzing about. Ignore them -- your standards need to be higher than whatever artificial thresholds these bees concoct.

Listen to me, Young Poet. The Muse is yourself. So be the best that you can be. Poetry is ethical -- no hipster will ever tell you that. So make sure that s/he staring back at you from that mirror is not who you are, but who you want to be.

Then punch that Ideal so that you will never have to imagine a sharp edge slicing into your skin, the slide of a blood drop elongating itself across a knuckle, the taste of your inner self as you suck on the wound, the sense of invasion as a small shard slips among and within the pink fronds of your unprotected tongue...and the ensuing power of rejecting its invasion.

Experience wine and its cousins, Young Poet, so that you will learn how to deal with what you cannot control....but later, under a stark noonday sun, fashion their memory into something you crafted: an existence possible only because you also exercised deliberate control.

Then listen to me, Old Poet. It is never too late to forsake regret for joy. The beauty of the page is how it consistently fails to translate the staleness of breath. Listen to me, Old Poet: if your poverty means no treatment for cataracts or glaucoma, but you have been true to Poetry, oh Old Poet: you shall fail to see the smallness of that needle's eye.

Here, now, is a deceptively manicured hand slitting your computer screen to approach your cheek...and, later, wherever else you will guide it to go....

Take my hand, slip it within your own. Shiver (Honey, I know....).

Honey, Poetry always knows.