Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Yesterday, etc.

Yesterday I drempt that I was working in a pharmacy and all the prescription medications were named after Grateful Dead lyrics.  What could this mean, except that I had my medications on my mind?  Nevertheless, the dream had the characteristic mellowness of GD.

For those of you who don't know, I'm bipolar.  It's a hell of a ride sometimes.  I used to become anxious every day at the same time, about 7:00 PM.  And then there are the occasional night terrors, when I become so anxious I can't think straight and I feel like my face is "on fire," in a manner of speaking.  At least the cores of my ears are no longer burning.

Nevertheless, I have been productive poetry-wise.  Yesterday I submitted five poems to Ghost Town.  Ghost Town is a wonderful online journal.  And today I noticed that my submission is in the "in progress" mode, which is usually a good sign.

So what do I write about?  Well, death mostly, since that is the main theme in all of poetry.  But I am also a firm believer in ideas in poetry.  In fact I even have a poem called "The Idea," which I unfortunately cannot post right now, as I am trying to get it published.  So I sort of believe it is the task of poetry to educate the reader on a level nothing else can.

Here's an example of one of my shorter poems:

If Night

If night has no water
or siphon in its bucket
it is lost.  It can only return
with two smooth stones
fastened like moles
to its skin.

If the moon knows lakes
and seamless strata,
then morning will open
and run its paddle
across an appendage
of birds in flight.

Published in Poetrysz.

There is a definite rhythm here.  But even though there is a definite landscape, each person encounters a different landscape, which is personalized for them by the way they visualize the words.  This is one way in which the poem goes beyond a painting.  There is a kind of ritual here.  Night is lost, and can only "return" with stones fastened to its skin.  At the time I wrote this I was studying logic at Auburn University, and one of the things we studied was antecedent/consequent relationships.  So we see that the if/then here gives rise to night/day.  Death is, of course, center-stage.  Night is dying, but it can only die in the appropriate way.  It must have a good death.  It has responsibilities to fulfill before it dies.      

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