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Sum parts


sum part – foto Smith

Writing poetry can be frustrating at times since due to its nebulous nature it can be read so many ways depending on the reader’s mood, education and happiness.

There was confusion last week about 2 of my poems which caused me to leave the following explanation as a FaceBook comment. Blogging it here cuz it’s rewritten and theoretically I have more blog readers than FB readers, unless they’re all trolling cyber-spyders.

Wife just read the following poem and exclaimed, “Oh, how sad.” And I went “What?”

Brain Salad

Belief and doubt
merge in comforting concinnity

Bursiform bag
on broken throne

Token clone
of tarnished saint

No here here
or there there

No here now
just now now

I’m telling ya flux, it ain’t a sad poem — I should know, I was there during both inception and birth. It’s a philosophical riff on Ram Dass’ “Be here now” and Gertrude Stein’s “There’s no there there” (her judgment of Las Angeles both culturally and as a city) plus the Buddhist teaching ‘all is illusion.’ All in all a positive thought flow to me, but I can see how it can be read sadly.

Same thing with my previous poem which some saw as sad:

New Year’s Model

Old walk, new waddle
as border I straddle
of was forever will be
or
break from cage
cocoon hibernation
burn to butterfly
phoenix rebirth

No, not sad — positive . . . this was a meditation on me deciding not to immediately replenish my grass supply because I’m in a same-old rut and need to break out of my soothing sleep, leave my cocoon and become butterfly, rise in new from Phoenix ash of old.

Don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m constantly sparring with my nature, trying to encourage my better inclinations and discourage or even hopefully conquer my lower nature.

Guess I’m too cryptic in my writing – but that’s what poetry is, unless it’s the easy to follow verse of an Ogden Nash or Dr Seuss (both of whom I respect, although respect doesn’t cover Dr Seuss — it’d be more like awe).

And I must admit I don’t understand or get a lot of my fellow poets’ poems as well because I don’t have their secret starting point to know where to begin.

So I’ll continue to write and post and be misunderstood because basically writing poems supplies me my worth factor – any day with a new poem is a day I’ve earned my keep.

Fortunately I write a lot of straight forward verse as well that’s easier to see as positive, even though it often hides darkness beneath in implication.

We’re all a work in process. Life is process. Good, bad, indifferent, in between . . . we work on what we are, and what we are comes from who we’ve been and what we want to be.

You can decide when I’m done how plus or minus I was along the way. Until then, misunderstand away — but remember, even my negative words have a basic inner positive thrust — they imply “This could be better” or “There is light and potential purpose beneath this dark analysis.”

Like all of us, I’m dark and light within. Been either fighting that or trying to come to terms with it my entire life. Figure my job is to handle the dark and exude the light.

If I make you think along the way, I’ve earned my keep . . . if I make you smile or laugh in the process, well that’s my Christmas bonus.

I think the main clue to the first poem being positive is the word concinnity which means:
1. Harmony in the arrangement or interarrangement of parts with respect to a whole . . . Studied elegance and facility in style of expression . . . an instance of harmonious arrangement or studied elegance and facility.

This probably doesn’t help folk much because it’s a word nobody knows — I got it from my A-Word-A-Day daily email — wordsmith.org/awad/.

Bottom line – folks overlay their emotion and meaning over my own, and the only way around this is to write simple straight-forward unambiguous poetry, which I can’t always do because I love words too much, the way they flow and twist and transform and play with my mind.

Just another skirmish in the never ending Subjective-Objective War.


Dividing line – foto Smith

3 Responses to “Sum parts”

  1. Christina B. says:

    I like to know what people think behind their poems.. enjoy hearing what the initial impetus is.. though I don’t have to have it to enjoy it.

    I didn’t take in either as being sad at all. More neutral, reflective..

    But a poem I’ve found is often colored by the reader’s mood while reading… no control over that as a writer.

    People bring themselves to each poem. love the fotos as always.

  2. kevin says:

    Just saw a documentary on Ram Dass. ‘Bout his recuperatin’ from a stroke & gettin’ older. Interestin’…

  3. kevin says:

    Oh yeah, & writin’ sad poems sometimes makes me the happiest. Weird.

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