I am very much aware of how any form of writing falls short of expressing what I am feeling relative to living in these times of world-wide crisis. These feelings cannot be covered by any language — poetic, journalistic, fictional, political (didactic, bombastic, metaphoric). . .You see what I’m saying. So I am anxious to explore blogging as another color in the spectrum of communicating what I am feeling or how I am processing just living as fully as I dare, heading into 2016.
I am the poet for my brother’s progressive / collective news organization ThisCantBeHappening.net. I write, on average, a poem every 10 days for this site. The poems I post are mostly reactive poems, that is, poems that respond to events, either directly or indirectly, but always from the left! The poems for this site are not meant to last very long. Most of them start losing their freshness after a week or two, some last longer, because of how they are packaged. But just a few days ago I drafted a poem titled “Our monster” that started out as a half-hearted, half-baked exercise. I was using Frankenstein as my symbol for the living / dead shadowy ghoul that we have created in the laboratory of our failing to live authentically, in a time that does not seem to reward integrity or authenticity. I was about to quit when the image of the abandoned homestead came up and I pictured us as modern-day dust bowl refugees, leaving that place “we used to call home” behind, evicted by the monster. . .who sits on the “leaning porch” with his feet up, “smiling like a damn politician”. Then I realized I had something. I sent it to a fellow poet with the following remarks:
There is a type of poem I publish on ThisCantBeHappening.net that serves for that site exclusively, that is “hot” in the sense of containing a hot emotion (I wouldn’t identify it as rage or anger exactly, because I rarely get angry anymore, but it is an emotion that is a blend of anger and sorrow / grief and disgust with a smidgin of outrage), and the poem, the language, is the crucible. The emotion is too hot to hold in my heart or in my hands, so the container, the structure of the poem, such as it is, is temporary, such as what an alchemist would use in handling molten material. Then after the poem is out there in the world for a while and the emotion has been released I separate myself from the poem, almost as if it were something I wrote in a drunken state.
In the process of writing these hot-poems, I have learned that to refine them is often to discover that there is nothing to them but the emotion and the heat. But so what? They serve a purpose, just like getting tipsy and venting to someone who is also tipsy, is forgivable and just a way of giving the heart its say.