If you have an extremely like me, being a man with a voracious appetite for life, to be anywhere and do anything, and life somehow not wanting to accept that and pushing back hard with the time and chains of poverty, bad luck and illness, with every minute marked out for something and always running over into time marked for something else, or more often, the vast realm of impossibility, poetry and you are simply just not cut out for each.
But, nay, there’s the rub. For the more of life you are in, the better the poetry gets, kind of like never getting the best pictures because how in heaven are you able to reach for that camera or phone when even your two hands (never enough, I think) can barely manage to hold onto the oars and the boat to make it through and you usually end up overturning into the oncoming, never stopping water anyway.
I don’t remember much of what I read or what my teachers said in class as a young student, so naive and ignorant of the true ways of the world, but something I still believe as an immortal and unchangeable truth impressed me when a college professor compared the Roman writers, Ovid and Cicero, saying (most of you probably never heard of Ovid) that Ovid spent most if his time in the library while Cicero was put in life, among people, and of course a competitive reading of both authors is, as they say, history. I suggest you read both authors as I imaginr most of you haven’t.
Yes, poetry, thought and imagination, are always rude interruptions to the very thing which bore them, life itself. But, like our children, neither liking nor accepting the rules and schedules we arbitrarily impose on them, who either eventually subdue us and get their way and their freedom, or are borne down on so hard that we eventually break and turn into our corporate overlords at both ends of our paycheck a willing and submissive servant whose lights have been sufficiently put out to never question authority or peer pressure, poetry will either subdue us into it’s life of art or be snuffed out never to return, at least the idea it gave you. (There goes my blood sugar monitor alarming me and sniffing out this inspiration, like so many others that got lost in dark, invisible energy. Will have to leave off and return.)
I’m back. In 4 minutes, it will be time to wake up the kids and do gongyo. There goes poetry, like a mistress that comes in the night in a dream. I guess the interrupted nature of this piece will serve as an example worth 1,000 words. Besides, I’ll bet most of you are either impatient or already passed me on for someone else. At any rate, I use the time I chant to try to surrender any creative ideas while chanting daimoku (NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO) because NAM MYOHO RENGE KYO, being mystic (myo) is sublime and it makes both my chanting and my writing better so now what you’ve been seeing is my new enchantment.
Could be what appears to be the imminent presence of a new real woman in my life. I wrote the 600 pages of DNC Chairman when I was married, and my wife took care of many of my basic animal needs, so I could take care of my soul’s. I made myself write an hour a day and all day Sundays so I could get a masterpiece out before the 2008 Election. I often sat, from the scheduled, forced nature of it, in front of the computer screen, without a clue, because, as you know, if you’re still with me, poetry or art, does not like being on the clock. Nonetheless, I found with all that time which I don’t have the luxury of these days, that if you do force it, it starts to write itself. Besides, half the time or more, what I had written up to then, inspired me with so many ideas and spirit of what should come next.
At any rate, I’m 6 minutes for wake up and gongyo so
INT – INSIDE A THEATER WASHINGTON, D.C. NIGHT
CAPTION: JANUARY 2006, WASHINGTON, D.C.
PEOPLE are watching a play, Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The
lighting is low with the light coming somewhere from the
side, slightly towards the back. The VOICES of the ACTORS
can be heard in the background.
FIRST CLOWN ACTOR (o.s.)
…argal, he that is not guilty of
his own death shortens not his own
MIKE GREENBAUM, an early 40s looking slightly slim, youthful
but serious looking professional, and his date, ALICE, a
younger attractive, thin, blond, are there.
SECOND CLOWN ACTOR (o.s.)
But is this law?
MIKE and ALICE both are dressed in professional attire,
MIKE’S clothes looking more disheveled, hers with a lot more
care plus sense of wanting to look nice for the date.
FIRST CLOWN ACTOR (o.s.)
Ay, marry, is’t; crowner’s quest
MIKE starts looking more and more disoriented. He turns to
ALICE and whispers.
Do you have any candy?
ALICE looks a mixture of annoyed and concerned and whispers
You forgot again?
(She searches her clothes and bag.)
I’ve got gum.
You don’t need to diet.
Can you make it to the snack bar
without passing out of insulin
FIRST CLOWN ACTOR (o.s.)
…and the more pity that great
folk should have countenance in
this world to drown or hang