Distribution Automatique

Thursday, December 4

Notebook: 7/28/88

It is really no surprise, in the end, that
what we might want from our poetry- from
so many things- is different than it was
a generation ago, let alone a hundred
years or so. I worried, once, that my book
of poems might be not *whole* enough, not of
a piece, say, like Baudelaire's *Fleurs de Mal*.
But this is not what a bouquet would look
like now, my dear fellow poet. Not that
yours looks any less fresh a hundred years later.
And now poisons even more in need of your pungent
antidote. Our lives are simply devoid of mystery.
This is really what I try to inject into my poems- in the face
of the fact that the world I try to escape
to in my poetry will hardly displace
a jot of the double-dealing world in which
we live. The truth is- there is hardly
anything alive out there anymore. All we
have is what we have within- and more and
more energy is needed to supply ever greater
amounts of fuel to keep burning the minute
ember of authenticity that is left. Every
bit of the universe I remember *could have been*
burned up in that little spark.

But words, words. Haven't
human beings proven it again and again?
Anything is possible with words. And psychoanalysis
demonstrates that even the wounded mind's hurts can be
healed by words. If only we could listen.

[What more is the poem than the injunction: "listen" ?]

Poetry- a way of getting ourselves to listen.
"Who gets credit for the waves. The margins
are at our feet-"

Then again, I must be careful not to besiege
myself with *too many* arguments.


I've lived with time so long as a limiting
and controlling reality- that I am weary with
thinking of it like this.

I need new images for time. I am tired
of being pushed in front of it, like a child
being urged to take its first step-or
like a pet, being dragged along its staccato
steps, lurching forward one moment, and
then seeming to drag on forever, locked in a room,
waiting for its next chance to get out. I
can learn to accept a concept of time that
is inexorable, leading to one inescapable outcome
which awaits all human beings. Of course
there is nothing afterwards. Time- more and more
not matter what. The end of time- nothing more, no
matter what.

Good speech is more a question of *when* then
*what*. But good writing offers something that transcends time.