A bout of illness sometimes offers opportunity to steer necessary change of course. I've been laid up for a week or so, & through the fog of discombobulations began to see things slightly anew, or anyway askew.
For long I've had a reasonable rationale for putting a lot of poetry, & ponderoskings about poetry, here on the blog. I won't rehearse the wherefore all that? right now. It would require a book-length tapeworm to unwind all real & supposed motivations & feelings about my own sitch in the American poetry landscape (FYI, see prev. 8-zillion pp. of HG Poetics). In any case, I shall retain all that for the Paris Review interview and the New Yorker profile, both of which are looming on the event horizon, no later than 3026 I am told.
But this week I came to the conclusion that there is no alternative for the American poet, no back door or sideway entrance, whether by street minstrelsy or digital rhizome-megaphonics. There is a longstanding marble-columnar Establishment building (made up of many buildings) which houses American poetry; it is maintained and sustained by a combination of internal memos and laying on of hands; it is not evil, corrupt or malicious - it simply is what it is, the Establishment. And there is no route for the American poet other than the most direct : that is, to face that central verbal Building-Complex, and direct one's work directly toward It, and await Its response. As the old Sunday School song maintains : You can't go over it, you can't go under it, you can't get around it - you've to to go in through the door.
Why would any poet (other than yours truly, Don K. Hotey) imagine things this way, doing things this way? The only valid reason would be Unity. That is, if & that there really exists a kind of unity - a unity of the human imagination, a unity of the art of poetry, a unity to the sense of beauty or rightness. If all our individual strivings under the heading of this art actually nestle under the aegis of some shady, comprehensive unity - then we ought to be forthright in our efforts to sling our work toward the general public, the established organs, the leading Judges of this particular field of endeavor.
I can hear the uproar and the cynical chortling. Is the Great Refuser suddenly become the Great Kow-Tower? Is the snarky Rebel now turned toddling Toady?
My answer to that is : I'm not suggesting uncritical obeisance to the standing Arbiters of Taste. One makes and expresses one's own taste. Nor am I suggesting the aspiring noodlehead abandon his or her fellow struggling little-magazinites (sounds like a microbe) and aim only for the Big Screen. I speak only for myself. I myself need to throw my toys toward the editorial Bull's-eye at the center of the Island of Reception [note arrowed metaphors], and work harder, and take my chances.
So I decided, during my bedridden week, to lay off publishing my poems immediately to blog. I'm sorry to bid this partial adieu to you dear trusty comrades & faithful friends (this means you, Olive Oyl). & for anybody who just can't get enough of these mesmerizing, stupefying masterworks, I do think there are actually a substantial Matterhunk of my poems present on record, for perusal & re-reading. Hopefully they will remain live here for a good while to come.
Hopefully I won't change my mind on this until tomorrow, at least. In the meantime, here's one more "occasional". In future I will most likely be posting other kinds of messages - not going away. Hi-Ho, Silver! [waves cowboy hat, rides mule toward Chanhassen]
Day after Father’s Day – at cusp
of springing summertime.
Anxious children climb
steep query-spirals – must the Ship
break into toothpicks, battered by
cold 40-ft slaps (off
the Tongue)? Mozartean buff
Fathers – are they foundering? & why?
Some stately turkeys ornament
our neighborhood. Their very
carriage molts each scary
Bronze Age snood toward merriment,
that used-caruncle dewlap glare
to bustle of 18th-century
quadrille heroine (stray
boa-feather in Ben Franklin’s hair).
Down its ravine, the river-myth
is inexhaustible, still
spills, inscrutable (al-
most), its copperhead glide. With
wattle-basket coracle, Huck Frisbee
heels for civilization.
Aesculapland shaman... – Hey,
there’s Beatrice! Pacing slowly,
lifted above herself,
a white heron (sylph-
crane) sure-footed, shadowing me –
long-legged flier in the reeds,
like feathered snow come
from gray clouds.... amalgam
She says: your frigate’s scraping shallows,
that is all. The ring
of Ocean overhead (sing,
choirs of pilots!) is harmonious;
your houseboat made of Lincoln logs
is under beanpole Abe’s
Euclidean bien sabe.
His moral compass counters rogue
waves, waves of dead shark-plugs
with a fertile proposition,
proven (fractal fashion)
through o’erlapping plies – Persian rugs,
matryoshka dolls... onion peals
from domes of ever-deeper
& dove-subtle cheer...
‘til liberty for all becomes the seal
of human Union (universal,
o’erwhelmed by charity for all).
Doubloons of humanism shine,
winking in mud-banks
near St. Lou. So prinks
the Rio’s evening Rose (yours, mine).