There was a time in my life when I dated someone, and he read something that I wrote about my life, and I had published it online. With alarm he said, “I mean, what if my MOM reads this?!?!?”
And it took me more than a decade to realize how stupid this actually is.
But it stuck with me for years.
I made excuses for years, for other people, when I wanted to be so understanding and empathetic that I’d find occasion to grace the most uninformed, uninspired, ordinary, banal, meaningless, ignorant, childish, even abusive criticism or judgment with the benefit of the doubt. And for fear of many things, I would even self-regulate my creativity. But did they deserve it? And it took me nearly two decades
To realize how stupid that is.
I don’t care
To represent you
I don’t care
If you don’t like it
I’m not here
To represent you
I’m not here
To entertain you
I’m not here
I don’t exist
I may love you
And that is
It is so
To just let it stand
I would’ve come here more often, but also I love the total and absolute quiet. Beyond thinking.
Just the fountain bubbling up for the cat. The refrigerator hum. Faint movements outside the window.
Even just the sound of air. A rushing sound like a freeway, but also like distant, blended waves.
I would talk more. I would put myself out there.
Sometimes I do. But I take solace too, in this total and absolute quiet. Even of words.
I love you, but also in total and absolute quiet together, love beyond entertainment.
It’s not a silence I mean, just a quiet.
An absence of unnecessary noise or movement.
For life, in honor of life I speed up, but also I want to be slow.
And so incredibly free of mind.
Everyone wants to be right and it’s the most important thing in the world. It feels exciting and invigorating. But this rarely resonates with any lasting profundity.
To be right, sparks a temporary glow… but also, to be right… sucks. It sucks the life out of everything. At least, the way we are treating it now. It’s rigid and unintelligent.
It’s nothing inherently original; nor super interesting in and of itself. To be right has become the most banal aspect of contemporary existence.
And writing? is easier than ever, if it’s all you have to do is affect such righteousness that the veracity of your statements doesn’t even matter. As is the apparent collective trend with our speech.
Yet writing which strives to maintain some level of integrity, is more difficult than ever. Because of this culture of RIGHT which negates and insults the entire process of inquiry which writing is meant to provoke.
If you think about it too much, it’s almost enough to make you feel done with language, with writing. To just… give up. Give up altogether this burden. Because to write, to use your words – this involves taking a position. Do I need to be right, to write? Because there is more to life than being the one who is right.
The trouble is, we now shoulder an actual and deliberate cultural detachment from reality, sadly underwritten by leaders who only stand to benefit from our dysfunction. We act as if what we say is the realest thing there is, and so it is done. Deeply consequential actions abound as a result. But as much as we propose to speak truth, and as much as we sometimes DO speak truth, truth is not only what we are speaking at any given time; truth does not end with our statement. We’d like to believe that it is, that it does; but truth changes as quickly as we figure it out.
What is truth? You can’t only be right and also have the truth. It’s impossible. Truth is filtered through the material world, but it can not be caught by you. Truth is a phenomenon created by the sum total of an infinite multitude of ideas and perspectives. Truth is a multitude.
And this is why we need poetry. And all those other art forms which we might also call “poetic.”
Poetry calls us to remind ourselves how foolish we are in being so right. In pretending to have all the answers. In our righteousness against the assholes.
Because there is no right answer in poetry. There is no “figuring it out” once and for all. No one single truth or perspective. And there isn’t supposed to be. Because this would not be possible, and it would not even reflect all that art is capable of – nor all that we are capable of.
Art expresses multitude. Art can understand us even beyond ourselves, because art is perspicacious. Because art is a universe, within universes. Because art reflects reality as this complex multitude beyond one single person’s ego — one single ego whose tragic flaws art is also sure to reveal, so that nobody can be a god (but perhaps, merely part of the god we envision).
And in that spirit, this is not to elevate the poet or artist who creates the art too much. The “one single ego” of the artist or the writer – that’s just a personality. The artist, or one who creates, serves as a medium for an aspect of truth. But not all of the truth. Even the artist who specifically concerns themself with what they call “the truth” – even this does not mean that they need be considered right (though they may be at times).
To be so right and so perfect, even so irrefutable — that would be the creation, ultimately, of something stagnant. Irrefutability is stagnation. And what would be the point of that? To end ourselves?
…What is the actual end game of RIGHT?
To end ourselves, no? To be altogether done with it?
Or do we want to be in and of this universe within universes? Where opportunity and growth and meaningful progress abound? As we are in the space of art, of poetry. Art and poetry which, like science, insist that we will never be done. And that there are rarely any easy answers (especially to life’s most important questions). And we had better become comfortable with this, unless we’d like to end ourselves.
We don’t need to be right, much as we act as if. And artists don’t need to be right to create, nor writers – especially not to write poetry, which neither needs nor strives to be irrefutable. The creator just needs to show. And this is why we won’t give up. And this is why one may have all sorts of feelings about it, including being pissed off and confused and offended. Craft will continue to excel at creating more questions, than answers. More perspectives, than egos. And we must defend this liberty, this freedom and this responsibility. So that the culture of RIGHT may not undermine, enfeeble, cripple art and all its most important functions and its beauty too.
There’s people out there who really wish we would, just give it up. We all know them. Perhaps they would prefer us to be simpler, to think and speak in absolutes, to quickly pronounce reductive and hasty conclusions based on our own personal prejudices, to be more simple and easy, to dumb down. To pretend we know more than we do, pretend we are better than we are, forget we are part of a whole, and act like little gods. Or simply to just abandon our purpose, pretending we know too little, pretending others’ ideas are superior and we don’t have a right to create a space. There will always be someone who wants to take you down a peg that you were never even on. Some half-assed response to your imagination. And we can’t help but disappoint them. Truly. And this is okay. In fact whatever we do, it will disappoint someone. And that’s marvelous.
This is the reason it is worth it to keep going. Not to get more “points” as it were, because we won’t. Not to be more right than they are. But to imagine. All of what is possible. And in doing so, we will not please all. If we existed only to please, then nothing original would ever get made or done (or originality would be severely limited). Because so often, what is original begins by embodying what is not-right.
And as for the whole? Not just the artists. The “everyone”? There is the idea that if we compromised on everything so readily, then nothing would ever change. And we could not dare to hope for a better world. And this is a point.
Our better world is always possible because, in actual fact, there can be a right and a wrong — but there is in fact also, a space in between, a grey area, and a spectrum.
So if we speak truth, this does not mean we are the god of intelligence either. Thankfully, some of us already know this and embrace it and that is because we are not stupid. And because after all, it is not too much to ask ourselves, to ask others: Is our opinion seriously, honestly, the highest intelligence possible? Does our opinion represent the highest world order? Please.
We’ll do better, in today’s climate, to celebrate how wrong we can be.
This gives us a future.
Water. I love it. All water. The mesmerizing and meditative quality of water. An implied unknown in its depths. The movement, the sound of it, its independent ever-changing form that can’t be shaped or molded, and the overwhelming mystery and vastness of its quantities. Creating patterns while resisting routine. Possibility is the word that comes to mind. Possibility. One place to another, never stagnant.
It calms and it stirs me up at the same time. I drag my fingers through it and watch the rings of light flicker across the surface, feel the movement on my knees and legs.
If only we could accept ideas – accept each other – accept unexpected circumstances – as much as we can accept water simply for what it is. A totally
independent and ever-changing form. That can’t be shaped or molded
beyond what it is doing momentarily.
Water responds but can’t be entirely controlled. No rigid and tired principles and values to cling to. If only we could better accept ourselves the way we accept water.
And experience more freedom. And the paradise before us here on earth. Embracing us. All of us. No it is not stupid to have this thought. It is absolutely not stupid. And
it is hardly even for you or me to decide
what is stupid. I don’t even care what you are against. That’s tired. I want to know what you are for.
I start with this excerpt, this particular piece, from the mess of words I wrote for months and didn’t post, because I had the kind of writer’s block that tells you so many lies.
Writing reflects the mysteries of life and consciousness. I can’t tell you what makes me feel so timid and afraid inside one minute, and so bold and carefree the next.
I, too, have been afraid to express the total fullness of life.
And I admire this element, water, that most reminds me what living is. Is to change. Art is this thing that has to embrace a state of allowing. Total and complete. Allowing is really the state of creativity, of touching creation.
But original creation encounters resistance from pre-existing, established entities. Which in some historical sense matters, but in an absolute sense means absolutely nothing.
I consider the fears and the insecurities and the haunted dreams. I consider the histories and the responsibilites and the rebellions and the failures.
And I gather all these thoughts in my hand, with all the feelings attached to them, every single feeling, and I open my hand over the river, and I lean and bend my mouth toward them, I inhale and bend toward the light with all these thoughts, toward the water’s direction, and I blow.
Poetic consciousness is the recognition
of the sacredness
It’s 4:30 am. Not sure why I’m up but I don’t fight it. I decide my colors for today will be lavender and midnight blue. I pull on my black leather jacket. For breakfast, something creamy and green. Matcha tea. Color is what drives me, every day. What gets me going, what wakes me. And the quality of light, and the character of light, on the color.
There’s form – lines, shapes, relationships, concepts – and there’s words. But first there is color.
First there are flowers. And then there is the street. First there are the lime-green trees, the terra-cotta tile, the wrought-iron chairs. And then there is the parking lot. And then there are the words.
The words for these roots of existence.
I’ll wander over to Peet’s, the first place that will be open.
I decide not to write, I mean not to edit something more serious. Thinking is tiring sometimes. I want to do something simple right now. Something easy.
Spanish classical guitar music. This is life, real life. Life is passion to the core. We’ll never truly give it up with age, as the myth goes. But we can pretend. We are free to create our own tragedy.
This why we need poetry. This is why beauty exists. Life is passion.
To the core. It’s the one thing you’ll never forget.
I step out into the dark, the first light just peering through.
Every once in a while it’s best to have a night where you break all the rules.
Stay up until 4 am, eat dinner way too late, drink fine wine and too much, blog something that nobody wants to read, make a big mess and don’t clean it up, text the toxic/perfect= intoxicating people and laugh it off, say something outrageous online somewhere, let people think whatever, indulge in all sorts of things you shouldn’t have, ignore everything, call it a success of a night, and move on
To the next even more successful day.