what is this strange thing i stumble upon late in life

i have always come to the dance late, unsure
a bit slow, awkward
i step in holes
and on feet
i fall

so what is this thing of poetry?
i don’t really know
not really interested in googling
someone else’s definition
i have not been prone to read it
when i do, i find most to be disconnected
but a few plunge me deep into being alive
i usually weep when i read these
some i can only respond by
writing back

i wept when i read judith krull’s the clothes

Of course they are empty shells, without hope of animation.
Of course they are artifacts.

Even if my sister and I should wear some,
or if we give others away,

they will always be your clothes without you,
as we will always be your daughters without   you.

i respond
to excerpts of rilke

The transformed speaks only to relinquishers.
All holders-on are stranglers.

thomas merton

‘then what do you know about our courage and our fear? Where do you come from? What is the basis of your statements about us? You say you wrote what you see, but no two men see the same street here. What do you see that you write? What do you mean when you talk about our courage and our fear?’

‘i am still trying to find out: and that is why I write. ‘

‘how will you find out by writing?’

‘i will keep putting things down until they become clear.’

‘and if they do not become clear?’

‘i will have a hundred books, full of symbols, full of everything I ever knew or ever saw or ever thought.’

‘If it never becomes clear, perhaps you will have more books than if it were all clear at once.’

‘no doubt. But i say if it were all clear at once, I would not really understand it, either. Somethings are too clear to be understood, and what you think is your understanding of them is only a kind of charm, a kind of incantation in your mind concerning things. This is not understanding: it is something you remember. So much for definitions! We always have to go back and start from the beginning and make over all the definitions for ourselves. ‘

jerry webber

My life cracks open.

I stand in it,
careful not to run.

or mary oliver

Listen — are you breathing just a little
and calling it a life?

but what is it
what is this thing i only read
when for some other reason than my own seeking
it sits below my swimming searching hunger
what is it
that pulls and tares at the threads
of my being

what is it
this thing called poetry

it is an uncovering
laying bare

laying bare my physical senses assaulted by vividness of being, here
laying bare my depth of intertwining and lack of being, with
laying bare the throbs of life and death that enter me, my being

it invites other into this space of laying bare
and in this bare-ness of being
if it is powerful
if the language wraps round
guides and tugs
lingering in the folds of living
if it is real enough
raw enough
it connects and reconnects me to a living presence

but why do i partake
why do i write

no different

it is to uncover
i so want to know
lay bare
i so want to see
lay bare my physical senses in the ways they ground me in presence
i so want to be immersed, grounded
lay bare my depth of intertwining and lack of
i so want to feel its threads, its roots
to smell the fragrance of life deep within
lay bare the throbs of life and death that enter me
i so want to move into presence of being
to be awake, alive
bare and connected

to see, feel, smell, taste the threads of these living, anchoring, fluid connections

is this different than my making, my art
no different
is this different than my seeking, my faith
no different
is this different than my being, my living
no different

it is not drama
it is entering a living presence
and i want to be present
i want to be living

yet in these my primary internal drives
i find my own oddity

i have no habit of reading (poetry)
and haven’t really cared to spectate
i have no habit of to go viewing
and haven’t really cared to spectate
i have no habit of claiming a knowing that i know,
and haven’t really cared to spectate
i have no habit of history or current events
for i haven’t cared for this form of what i experience as a nonliving, a spectating
yet i know i “need” to spectate upon these things
for there is living in the things i call nonliving

there are
the runners before
the runners now
i know they will move me
i am a runner
but not a racer
i do not need to be ahead of you
i am willing to step aside to let you fly
but i am looking for my pace
my own limping gate
the one in which when i find myself old and withered
i am still running in the writing, making, seeking, loving
i am living even if i limp

this laying bare is a digging
i have been digging for as long as i can remember
for i am a digger but not of backpacks or cartrunks
i am a digger in laying bare
this can be frightening and threatening
some misunderstand it as judgment
for me it is simply a laying bare
of an unknowing knowing
through, sometimes, a not so gentle digging
and i am certainly not always “right”
but i am honest to what i can see in the bare-ness
sometimes i have thought what lays there bare
must belong to my history, my habits, my internal home my own running
and spent decades trying to see how and how to heal from this thing exposed
only to discover that what lay there in the bare-ness belonged to another
it did not live in my history, my habits, my internal home, my running

i am honest in my seeing
but my understanding can be blurred with an unknowing

laying bare is my work
my running
my being
my ground
my digging
my dance

in it is my call

i must find a way around Søren Kierkegaard’s definition of the poet.


You may also like

a revisiting of my mfa design grad thesis (not boring)
a small two cents
Waiting a poem and performance by Faith Wilding (Womanhouse)