Thursday, January 19, 2017

Of a Reading and a Writing

For the last week and a half, I've been posting loose poems to a selected audience on Facebook every day with the hashtags #fillfacebookwithpoetry and #freetheverse. (Also #freethedrought, but that's a weird private joke between me and my friend Jason.) I am not now and have never claimed to be a poet, but the purpose of these poems is not necessarily aesthetic brilliance so much as it is resistance against the dominant discourse that's on my Facebook feed.

This is an ironic move, because the dominant discourse (on my feed, not perhaps on yours) is political resistance and fury - so, resistance against the resistance, which is itself against a conservative movement that some would label a resistance as well. I'm aware that I am making few friends with my stance, which reads a lot like head-in-sand, but what I think and feel about the liberal resistance discourse is complex and unpopular, so I decided to try and go in a different, and non-combative, direction.

The poems more or less serve as daily diaries. For instance, when I spent all day reading on Sunday: 
We begin with
Return to Peyton Place, the quickie
cheapie sequel
she wrote when her habits were
too expensive to keep, and
too hard to break
Much more sex than in the first. But
such a pleasure to walk around
in those corrupted skins again. 
Then, the doorbell, and
three copies of Odes intended for
the crone, the sex goddess, and
[my own] mother.
Plus a book by a miracle woman
with pages so beautifully
perfumed that opening it seduced me
before I read a word. 
Later, the first novel of a friend
(a friend, I think, I hope)
whom I wish I had better charmed, the once we met,
not knowing the power she held in her hands,
the ends of nets she grasped
which stretched all across the firmament of
SoCal lit. I don't think she had fun with me. 
(Nearly finished. Very beautiful.) 
And a dozen pages of
a strange good hostile memoir thing
with a title I envy
and a height that won't fit the shelf where
my Ws go. 
I need to return to my own work, but
for the moment
for the [Sunday] moment
the people inside me do not nag;
they converse with the others, new
company, over for an afternoon chat
on the sofa with a soft lamp
and a cup of Portland Earl Grey. 

Like I said, I'm not much of a poet. I have no problem with that. It means I get to play, without fear that someone will say "You suck!", because I'll just say "Yep, thanks!" and keep doing my thing. In this case, my thing is being received pretty well, by non-poets at least and by a few poets who really love me. And it's doing me good to do a little shaped writing every day, working at the craft a little but with no stakes. I like picking and choosing what to include in the daily account and I like listening to the words for assonance and crackle. 

I intended to do this only through the weekend, but it's getting to be a habit I enjoy. I'm tossing out to the universe the idea of building a chapbook of these poems, titling them by the day I wrote them, but I can't figure out a natural end point for them. 365 poems is way too many, isn't it? Chapbooks are like 80 pages. Maybe I'll write 365 of them and then pick the best ones. It wouldn't be a diary so much as a selected diary in that case. Whatever. Your thoughts are welcome, because I certainly don't know what I'm up to. I'm not a poet! 

As for the reading, I'm listening to the audiobook of Robert Hare's new classic on psychopathy, Without Conscience. It contains almost everything I've ever wanted to know about psychopaths. They are fascinating creatures, so hard for us normies to comprehend. I think, based on what's in this book, that I've known three in my lifetime.

School starts Monday. I'm ready. I'm ready! 

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