Distribution Automatique

Tuesday, July 15

Recently, on Hatstuck Snarl...Stephen Kirbach wrote: "I'm interested in the idea that poems can get up and roam (books like beds) skewing in the process human trajectories which otherwise appear inevitable."
Posted by: Stephen / 1:53 PM

This reminded me that for a long while I've wanted to post a poem of mine that I thought might be of interest to some of you. It was published in "Rhizome" #4, 2000, edited by Standard Schaefer and Evan Calbi.

The Wandering Poem

The poem and the poetry are not identical. Poetry is what the poet writes but poems have points of origin (souls) and sometimes go on to have lives.

The poet continues to write (sometimes poetry) until the poet chooses his or her poetry to be born in-out of.

Poems wander the world (the worlds) until they have found a place to be born in. They are not always born in poetry. Sometimes they find something else to be born in- a piece of music, a scientific discovery or a mathematical formula. These kinds of poems, anxious to witness change, can bring great tumult into the world. In such forms poems have been known to live forever, curling inside the fingers of a clarinetist or piano player, leaving their listeners to walk away from the concert amazed that they could not point to a single melody or theme, but something had pressed through them all, straight into their heads, their feet and their hearts.

Other poems walk the worlds like strangers or tourists, never understanding why no poetry they see looks inviting, no music really attracts with the potential of a home, no painting, no scientific or philosophical treatise, no sculpture, dance, or book art can intrigue them into staying. Such poems instead choose to wander through time in limbo, briefly inhabiting the lives particularly of ardent, lesser poets, who, isolated yet exalted, haunt the places where such poems choose to hover. Of course these poems would never permanently inhabit the lines of these second-string singers, but occasionaly they do choose to visit them and, in so doing. deposit some of their individual auras.

How tired and despondent most of these errant poems become. All the more reason to elude the capture of the mightiest of poem-hunters whose many tomes would only leave them callous and wary of occupying a world where their individuality would hardly be noticed among the poet's multitudinous lovers and wise friends. Better to frequent the quiet retreats of the ignored and vanquished who welcome the presence of such strangers.

These poems never conclude and are constantly about to be born. Their spirits are uneasily embraced by their followers. They sleep, they dream, they troop about the worlds, from time to time inhabiting the odd music of the estranged.