September 17, 2004
social rhythms in poetry
I will fold a thousand paper cranes and throw them up into the leaves. When they fall to rest, I will too, and into their hollows, I will whisper the songs I want to fill mine. For some time the caverns in me have been sealed off; a vacuum's been created. The wind not moving through anymore. This creates a fierce echo of my heart which in turn creates eerie ebbing patterns of its own noise. And so it's my hope to cast a snow of song, to drown this out. The only way to be alone is to be at one with all the rest.
True isolation leaves one without anything to echo against. A bird so high in the envelope of the atmosphere, that the sound of its flight travels nowhere but down the bone spiral to the drum of its ear. The self-symphonic purring of a mute cat. I want to build such a palace, but internally, and the question is, can I make the outside world implode upon the constructed logic of an inside one? Gather tight and warm around me like shrinking wool? Reality inevitably shrinks for all of us, but I want to conduct this with more control. Control. What a ludicrous word. The irony of surrendering to a kind of lunacy in order to reign in one's world. We all do it.
So what is the difference between a poet and a person in general? I don't think there always was one; at least not as much of one. But it's long been so that poets are meant to perform alchemy upon the realities of individuals beyond their selves, upon society itself, and they're supposed to do it for altruistic reasons. Recently, with the advent of high individualism, this function has come to be seen as outmoded; we've lost our grip on the system of logic that makes a social poetics less theory and more instinct, just another breathing.
Poets have always turned inward to write; the trick is turning your vision inward while still seeing more to life than the end of your nose. They hold onto that art up North and in other still-lost places in the world, and I honour that. Once we were all spell casters, story tellers, and empowered dreamers. Could it even be that once we all were an aware of the social process of art itself? Who cares? It just used to work.
There's a lack of social drive to poetry right now, which I think renders it half-potent at best, and dangerous at worst. Dangerous? Yeah, because we've all been mulling on the same beat themes for decades since the ideas peaked, and the post-modern I-Me-My perspective has grown cataractic beyond sense. I don't propose that I've know the solution to this. There are many other poets who are working towards a solution, and I admire their work. I suspect that most of this work is being done outside of the English language. For the most part, with my own poetry, I feel as though I'm on the verge of something many decades away. But I do know that I want to craft a more integrative and broad-sighted genre, a beautiful but more cutting art, one that moves through the superficial levels of modern being to the artery of all of us at once.
Posted by delire at September 17, 2004 03:34 PM