|February 5, 2015
||[Feb. 5th, 2015|11:55 pm]
|||||Philip Glass, Hydrogen Jukebox||]|
Up late morning to a world filled with bright sunshine and a lack of falling snow. I decided early on to try to spend the day writing, but it didn't go well to start with. Upon reflection, I really should ignore all news and politics websites on days when I want to write. They just depress me too much.
Anyways, I took a break to wash some dishes, and the writing went a little better after that. Still, the sparks were not flying and I ended up deleting more lines than were in the final poem. Still, I persevered, and eventually I wrote the last sonnet for "Meeting the Makers" (barring any addition editing and inspiration). The poem, as it stands, looks like this:
MEETING THE MAKERS
The cat leaves a mouse on the stairs. No more plans.
I come from the kitchen bearing a plastic bag,
a shroud of sorts, to clear away the remains.
Neither partner in predation knows
my role: just a shadow behind the scenes.
Back to pinning down ideas, a note
in the margin, a scribbled line or two on the page,
a leap of intuition, and the neck
of the thought is broken, another prize for the day.
And then the makers approach. Behind my back,
I feel them gather, wondering whose ungrateful
progeny I am this time. They stare
at my offering, now curled up, lifeless, and still.
I don't know where to even find the altar.
Met at lectures. Met in seminars.
Met in coffee shops or met in bars.
Met over a table of cheese and passable wine
at events awarding the great, the honored ones.
Shop talk, small talk, talk to fill the time
between verses. Time always later to hone
the craft. Meanwhile, a wish for sycophants:
the hope that someone, somewhere might be reading.
Is this not what any author wants?
Easy to idealize the making,
but what about the makers? We ask for more.
Of course, they give -- is this not their function?
They form our history: their DNA is ours.
And yet we want them somehow more than human.
Met in books alone. The hardest teachers
ones that never say a word direct.
Watching the scalpel cut, hearing the preacher
shepherd the tones, the syllables, the breath --
these are secrets of the trade. For every
maker there are those who made them thus.
Is it possible to trace the web
back to some ur-poet, Orpheus,
Apollo, Homer? And that just for the West.
So easy now to read the great and think
they never had their doubts. As for the rest,
well, tacet. Stare at the past and blink,
and all such certainty is gone. I make,
but in their shadows. What they give, I take.
So whose ungrateful progeny am I?
Style could tell, but my voice is young
enough to crack. Still learning craft, the sky
behind the stars, the muscle beneath the tongue.
Difficult to gauge, the balance between
“influenced” and “copy.” Voices echo
deep in the cave, call out for hearing. Again
and again, the miners descend. But time to go:
at last the vein is stripped. The makers whisper
in our ears, slip into our mouths.
Gradually their voices merge together,
blend with ours, and something new comes out,
expectant, seeking, from behind our faces.
And yet still possible to map the traces.
Everything in circles. Once the world
revealed itself -- the cosmic tease -- but now
I have to dig and sift, and never know
where to start. A glimpse of the budding swirl
of springtime suggests a universe of birth,
but what is that to winter? Pages like snow
drift across the floor, a steady flow
of knowledge leaving behind just so much froth.
The makers have left. Their traces can be read,
marks on the walls of the labyrinth beneath
the burnt-out torches. Somewhere at the center
is what I seek -- we seek. The signs are there.
Those who have gone before us wear the wreath
of victory. We hope for more in their stead.
The rest of the day after that was kind of a slow slide downhill. I didn't take a nap, in part because I was feeling a little wired as a result of getting some writing done. I ended pacing about the house a lot until it was time to make dinner, which tonight was garlic shrimp served over spaghetti. Dinner seemed to calm me down a little, and I've had a pretty quiet evening since then. Tomorrow, I work at the book store, and I should go to bed soon so that I'm awake for that.