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Not Musing

I have written a few poems, a handful, since fall. Mostly I am in the body, or reading. When the muse doesn’t bite like a swarm of deerflies, I’m content.

I know I’m in a natural state, brought on by pill brain chemicals that keep me level and not strung to a squeak anxious.

I have assembled a few poems from phrases that accumulate, from images I want to mull, from mental exercises towards deadlines after reading my fill.

I composed a few poems scaffolded to other poems a couple years ago.  I think they are uncommonly good. That doesn’t seem to be the general take. 5 test readers have given them a meh and said they are less good than my usual. I think they are different, less pressed, frenetic, less sad and clenched. But people want what they expect they want. Or maybe they are just head poems.

In any case I like them but have basically not written to any degree for 3 years or so. First I was too busy and then too concussed.

So, today I had the sensation of writing a poem, of the words falling out. I’d forgotten that feeling. As easy as unravelling knitting or shelling a bucket of peas. A familiar motion. A sense of being lifted. Of time stopping. A flow state. A sense of release.

As Kevin Spenst shared on twitter, coincidental with my reading Audre Lorde again, “I used to speak in poetry. I would read poems, and I would memorize them. People would say, well what do you think, Audre. What happened to you yesterday? And I would recite a poem and somewhere in that poem would be a line or a feeling I would be sharing.” – Audre Lorde

I’ve been blasé about poetry, frustrated with its impasses and repetitions, tropes, pretension, postures, slack romanticism, performativeness and clumsiness for five or six years. It wasn’t nourishing anymore. To find a kernel caused allergic reaction to all the chaff.

Maybe I needed time away. Maybe I still do.

It is perhaps a relative measure. Poetry gave better quality connection than people. Now people give a better ratio of connection than words.

I read more fiction, more non-fiction, more essays. I’d rather read about poetics than hear poems.

Partly I get full up easier. All I want is a sweet phrase. Give me a whole stanza and I’m good for weeks. A whole book worth reading takes ages to process. I overflow. And maybe that’s fine. I don’t have to take it all in.

I don’t have to share or condense everything either. Things can flow through me unseized. It’s fine. I don’t need to micromanage my thoughts, feelings, perceptions, pass judgement, direct, correct, make it all do athleticism.

I’d rather move stones, garden, cook, chat, listen to podcasts. Is this what civilian non-poets live like?

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