June 24, 2007

The Piece That May Have Tried To Provide An Explanation

Filled with, and characterized by, the difficulties that plague all writing and especially poetry and considering also an observation made about a lack of butterflies.

          for Mireille Juchau

          Some things begin with a dream. These are nice – the torn out heart wearing the paper napkin as a hat; truly understanding the relationship not had by the barn and the picture of the barn1; swimming above the sea in a stage of mitosis, out-flung chromosomes moving towards the poles in one enormous embrace.

          As a method, not one expostulated but one in busy-ness, I have decided not to be aware that what I am writing is poetry. Of course, it’s useless – things which are often not dangerous and sometimes are – and dangerous to persist with this thought-action when not writing. One must be prepared to live unprepared. Further, to prepare everything for that which can abide no preparation.

          I see a mudpuddle. I see mudpies. It’s all too unclear and messy for allegory. Symbols can sometimes get in the way of other symbols and life has refused its familiarity to the living. Bought a lamp and write by lamp-light. I do this for none of the wrong reasons. I simply write differently beneath the softness of a moon-sun.

          It was said of Bruno Tant that ‘[he] designed fantastic buildings for imprecisely formulated purposes.’ My poems are invisible sleeping dwellings on the maps of these towns where Tant’s architecture migrates towards the imagination. Perhaps Poe stands in the square taking snap-shots. The poems are not as useful as ribs but like them do protect life and when removed from the body grow certain murmurings of the mind.

          Susurrant. Should we consider it the work of many rather than the work of one? Libratory. Poised between islands only occupied by each of us once and alone, I consider this token space – plants, animals, stories about them beginning with the last sentence of the previous tale, but used to head in a different direction. A tree moving position. Seahorse becoming seashore. Little poems, in the form of voices, knocking on the door of the neverending house.

          What is the main danger with deciding to do this? To write a little piece and make no claims with it yet still believe in its justification? Is it that tears and chuckles bearing signatures – not names, but the unmistakable marks of a singularity – cannot be cried and laughed again by others? Or never enough others? May I answer: the voice has this special nature, that it can speak to, and of, itself. So listen...

          A friend of mine, herself a writer, tells me that there are no butterflies in her life anymore. I was delighted today, when in a restless moment, two white ones with wings edged in black (as if outlined by the drawing hand of a child god) chased each other in circles fluttering the tree opposite my balcony. But I cannot take her butterflies – they are the kind of thing which loses what you want from them when taken.

          You cannot hide stupidity in poems yet all poems contain stupidity, as well as the intelligence they seek. They must be the poorest of the poor living by a full sea in which to fish; they must be where they are originally from in every place.

          Other things begin in the mind awake. These, also, are for travelling with. And though we may stop to ask, How candid can we be with ourselves, truly?, there is nothing here by which to be overwhelmed. To be afraid of life, is to be afraid of poetry; hearts bleed, with or without the humour; ready to grow, the plot itself, like the stem of a young tree.

          There is the impossibility of finishing – what must be finished and in general. Clouds sink like stones some days and others they seem as light as the ghost in my chest. My heart is not on this cover but within the pages of this book, a book which contains a missing growl.


          1. Representation differs not only in reality but removes the representation of the thing from its own representation. The barn you see from another direction is the same size as the barn you see from the other direction. The picture of the barn is a different size from every direction and the barn that is always the same size is not there. (This perhaps makes sense only as dream.) Why dream of a barn?

—MTC Cronin

Posted by dwaber at June 24, 2007 04:55 PM