Saturday, May 09, 2020

certain slants of light

Getting to a place where poetry or writing seems to matter in the grand scheme of things seems hard.  For awhile, every day just bought a certain amount of futility feelings, others maybe a little less.  It's good to have other  things to do that are more routine and don't involve having to put thoughts together creatively--assembling books, library work. Layouts and proofing are touch and go and require more concentration, so some days are decent for those, but others not so much at all. But a certain amount of joy --that living in the world of words--is missing.  I think this has less to do with being at home, which you would think would allow for so much room to play, but moreso with that anxiety about what is happening outside.  What happens next?  Then after that?  What can I control? What can I not?  Creativity, for this Taurus, means stability and a bubble in which things happen, and it's a bubble I feel everything pressing in on and it's no good.   I'll open the file of the Shining poems, and maybe I get something, but I don't find my usual joy and energy surge.  Writing a poem feels like doing the dishes or putting a load of laundry on. It's nice to have done it, but I don't revel in it.  Similarly on discussions of po-biz and readings and the things months ago I would enthusiastically taken part in.

And yet the poetry worlds goes on.  Today I had to take a look at the final designer proofs for SEX & VIOLENCE, and what struck me most was a small section of the book that I pay I pay much less attention to--the Dali -inspired pieces that, in the context of the manuscript, are more about art and violence, but in this light, the more apocalyptical themes seemed at the forefront.  Granted, I wrote a whole book about the apocalypse, and even last fall, the extinction event series came out of my time at the Field Museum. I see folks rushing to write pandemic poems, and I don't think I can or will, at least not anytime soon. But I've written a lot of poems about the end of the world. Obviously not that this is the apocalypse or extinction, but even for the luckier who have not gotten sick or lost jobs or love ones yet, in some ways life will be changed from what it was.

But poetry seems a tiny arbitrary world where the stakes don't seem to matter when our government is filled with idiots who just keep lying. And more idiots who line up outside capitol buildings with guns and believe them.   Where the huge infrastructure problems are being uncovered body by body of those who have fallen through it.  Where I vascillate between being afraid for my life and yet. sometimes, not all that tethered to survival at all.  A world that seems both too small and too large for a poem to matter. And yet, we've put all our coins into the faith that it does. 

Still I sat down with my proofs and dutifully went through them, the final check before going to print to make sure formatting was correct and things all matched up. The book will be out soon and I plan on making some sort of trailer, and despite extreme zoom meeting fatique, maybe a reading.  I drink more coffee and as I was finishing the light was fading in my apartment, but the sun hits that sweet spot where it reflects from one of the glassy lakeside high rises to the east and floods my living room with gold for about 10 minutes every day.  I'm not usually here to notice this, would usually be at the library this time of day,  so I do and take note for a poem that may or may not happen in the future.

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