Saturday, October 11, 2014

I continue to suck at poetry

When autumn comes, the temperature dips and my brain fires at a slower, more thoughtful pace. And then, God forgive me, I write poetry.

I used to keep a jar (or was it a tin? my memory is fuzzy now) in my apartment closet in Moscow where I would drop scraps of paper with phone numbers never called (some of them for fairly famous artists and writers, so more's the pity), and poems that I would scribble on the Metro or a trolleybus. In Moscow, we're all the poor man's Zhivago.

When I moved from Moscow, the jar (or tin or animal cracker box, for all I can recall) vanished, and with it a small measure of creativity. It was probably recycled with my moving boxes, turned to dust by the City of Moline or Montgomery County, if it made it all the way to Bethesda. It matters not. We string words together every day. Some good, some lame, some forgotten in minutes or hours. The goal is to string together a better line or two or three the next time.

In Moscow, most of the year felt like fall to me. Fall, winter, thaw, fall, winter, thaw... So, I wrote more poems there. Here, it's more of a once-a-year event. Literally once. I get the bug, I write some lines of free verse, and I move on. I have no expectation that anyone will enjoy what I write. Sometimes, I don't like what I produce. That said, it's a liberating form of writing, and if you're working in free verse, nothing matters. What's in your head moves to your hand and appears on a screen.

I can't dance. I have no rhythm. With my nerve damage, I have no balance (which is very rough on someone who was never very well-coordinated and always accident-prone and bruised). Flop, fall, flop, fall, hopefully not break something, lather, rinse, repeat.

I think what I produce in the way of poetry reflects my own lack of equilibrium, so I embrace my lack of skills. And in posting it, I'm showing equal parts hubris, humility, pretentiousness, fearlessness, and stupidity. Lots of stupidity. If one of those aspects outweighs the other in your mind, dear 2.5 readers, I bow to your judgment.

Wrote something this week, and I'll probably post it later today. For now, I hear the clarion call of laundry. It's become somewhat urgent to do laundry. Clean undies and fresh warm socks trump poetry any day of the week.


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