I went to two poetry readings recently and read some of my new work. It was satisfying because for the first time I felt that the poems were complete, done, didn’t need revisions–So I read them with conviction. I committed to their worth and I felt relief after they popped out of my mouth. I smiled when someone told me an anecdote about B. F. Skinner and his mentor poet, Robert Duncan or maybe it was Robert Creeley– I don’t know. All I heard was yes that part of me that is still vulnerable still shows. That part of me that was wounded a long time ago is still unconcealed. It doesn’t hurt anymore; it just feels like a part of me, the part that is compelled to write and write –to empty it all out–to expunge memories that flatten out in disjunctive images, their ancient feelings too tired to be re-gurgitated yet again. Yes, I meant like vomit. I am a self-actualized person who once revealed all my secrets (because that is what we did then) and the result was you can’t touch me now. I say, yeah, so what to all intrusions, now. The proverbial open book produced through all that falls out of a series of Gestalt explosions-and a smidgeon of primal screaming is done–completed. The “hysterical historical” approach doesn’t work in the new model American; instead, just living really works. Doing what is in front of you–never asking why–always present–if that’s possible –that is the goal in the new model–always present to the life you’re in. I did revise one poem that I posted earlier a week ago. It is a better poem but it was fine before also. Here it is–I am thinking about going out in the country or to Lake Keystone to stand on the dam and read- shout it out to the fishes. That is just the way I feel right now. I may or may not do that but that is the way I feel. Fish have always looked sympathetic to me. They have those eyes of which many interpretations could be made. I like their apologetic demeanor (seen through the eyes); its comforting. It makes me understand the term–“she sleeps with the fishes now.” They must be very easy to sleep with, a little like being held in a large rocking chair.
Turn Inside Again
These are the days of solitude and falling leaves.
Crush all nomadic fearfulness. Settle down
into a cut glass crystal bowl: pressed leaf, wing and feather,
a picture of serene. The thorny gate breathes open,
hemming and hawing
through the cracks of a creaking door.
These are the days of Fall and Open
Sprung on the unsuspecting,
in garbled & frothy emotional appeal.
Faded tapestries hang rather than choke
their companion windows waving their
fringed hands as signals
that everything’s fine.
We’re fine, we’re all fine,
everyone is ok.
The streets of powdered pleasure leave snaky trails undulating
through the columns, reaching out to us.
They throw silk threads like lassos that quickly tighten around our necks.
They speak in obscene whispers in languages we’ve never heard.
In the meantime, nations still wait persisting in their denials and fear unable to decipher the message.
Fingers flat –oblique musing aside— we barely listen to their intended reflections.
We watch this like a play falling slowly from a sparrow’s mouth,
the furniture of mannequins,
each element placed carefully for the best effect.
The root of all instinct and turmoil cannons into my heart
causing me to breathe more quickly, carving my senses into a fine ice sculpture,
still gleaming. The wilderness left behind
makes me softer, suppler, more willing.
S. e. Black