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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Occupational therapy

This is my clock. Really.
I'm a grownup. With a work ethic. I get up in the mornings even though I hate 6:30, have hated it since I was five years old, my last dark, sleepy hour cut in half, the minute hand banging an unwelcome knock at morning's front door. I want nothing of it and yet I walk through it every weekday.

Even a pale poet such as myself practices discipline and persistence, often much to the disappointment of one's readers reader. Which is why you are subjected to posts of the revisionist kind.

Usually working on a poem feels good. Kind of like Hey Jude, you know -- take a sad song and make it better? Even bad poems can be made a little less bad (LMFAO). And when you get to a certain place with a poem, you feel a little release. Your head, which has been worrying over words and line breaks and stanza length, relaxes a little. You've made it say something close to what you wanted it to say. Maybe you've even written a line or two that isn't pale at all. A line or two you feel really good about. And you can let the poem go.

Yesterday night, not so much. I spent a couple of hours picking away and ... it was not a good harvest. Perhaps it's just an ill-considered crop, the product of poor farming. Or maybe it was a poem that shouldn't have been planted in the first place? Or maybe one that needs more tending. Maybe I should just stop extending this agricultural metaphor.

Anyway, so, duh, after stewing part of today, I realized what I needed what a little self-medication. Drugs of choice? Words and music.

Of course we started by reading Ray:

There was a time
I would have died for love.
No more. That center wouldn't hold.
It collapsed. It gives off
no light. Its orbit
an orbit of weariness. But I worry
that time and wish I knew why....
('The Sensitive Girl')

Bright mornings.
Days when I want so much I want nothing....
('The Minuet')

Between five and seven this evening
I lay in the channel of sleep. Attached
to this world by nothing more than hope,
I turned in a current of dark dreams....
('Spell')

After the winter, grieving and dull,
I flourished here all spring. Sweet light....
('Sweet Light')
Poem from 'All of Us: The Collected Poems,' by Raymond Carver

Better already, although feeling slightly inadequate. Next, even though it's the first day of spring, we listen to Bon Iver, our go-to winter playlist, for their moody incomprehensibility:
Errant heat to the star
And the rain let in
The hawser rolls, the vessel’s whole and Christ, it’s thin
Well Iʼd know that you’d offer
Would reveal it, though it’s soft and flat
Won’t repeat it, cull and coffer’s that
For the soffit, hang this homeward
Pry it open with your love
Sending lost and alone standing offers....
... Our love is a star
Sure some hazardry
For the light before and after most indefinitely
Danger has been stole away
This is axiom (Beth/Rest from the album Bon Iver)
Srsly, what does THAT mean? I feel better already. I might have used this one already, but we need to listen again.


Words that walk and weep,
Lines that sing and and keep,
Night that early ends;
Light that somehow mends.

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