Writing About Writing My Work in Progress

I read this morning that Hemingway said that better writers didn’t talk about their writing; I think it is often important to reflect on what one is doing as one writes: metacognition to use education jabber. So, fuck off Ernie.

I started a serial poem back at the beginning of January. The plan was to write 140 poems, each poem’s length is pre-determined by a random number generator, ranging from 3-140 syllables. It was to follow vaguely the rules of a renga, where each poem grew out of the one before it somehow, weather through theme, pun, image, or a reply. The number of poems was determined by the number of syllables in a sonnet. 

I have come to the end of the first “stanza” section—40 poems. The last poem in the section #40, ‘rhymes’ with (39), (20), and (1); as (10) and (30) ‘rhyme—in an attempt to create an overall section unity. I will now begin to move forward with the second ‘stanza’ while collecting and tightening section 1, in hopes that as I reread and work over section 1, the themes and ideas that emerged in section one will echo and grow organically in section two: a conversation between sections one and two, if you will, as section two talks to itself.

Well, it keeps me something to do, and think about if nothing else.

(March 22, 2020)

one

from a work-in-progress: process, not a journey (37)

for years years ago

I thought about amoebas

.

how I wanted a metaphor

which would work well

.

with the amoeba image

to surround and absorb

.

until there was no difference

to contrast a comparison

.

no space between to slip

a prosaic definition

.

where on wanders safely

through dusted hallways

.

and life’s sharp ambiguity

blends into one

(March 16, 2020)

Mistranslations

My past imperfections intercede

to lay claim to what I can see.

The air between thickens in time

like delirious veils in the wind.

Each word she spoke I heard

as if her fingers on my arm

traced a secret in braille

I was too blind to read.

*

Now too tired to transform time,

I watch myself as if dead;

the chill pushes through my flesh,

like a rat gnawing in the wall.

Time’s translations fill my silence

with the words neither of us spoke.

(December, 20, 2019)

Marginalia

The ghosts in his forest sift

between the bramble, collect

momentarily in clearings,

and compare notes on their

unconsummated affairs.

His apparition slips along

her edges, begging the margins

she ignores. Annotations,

without context, entangle

his thoughts, growing a life

of their own, a meaning

of their own, as blooms

of moss on the forest floor

disguise the broken trees

in a green effulgence.

He tries to trace her designs

within her fractured words.

Each turn he takes leads away

form yet another possible exegesis;

until, he falls into a clarity

forever uncertain and voiceless.p

(May 5, 2019)

Weeks Before Winter Solstice

W

                                      “and I am

out with hanterns, looking for myself”

                        –Emily Dickinson

Despite the lights in the house,

The darkness penetrates.

It assumes positions in corners,

Presumptuous in its domain.

Like lions pace a cage’s confines,

I am lost in loops of thought

Looking for a set of keys

Which will let me inside.

Yet, there is no rest within

Nor without which can comfort

Enough to bring a closure;

Locked in my obsessions,

I worry each item in turn,

Tangled like tumblers at a fair.

(November 26, 2018)

All Memory Wears Nostalgia’s Taint

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It’s not fair to compare

one to the other where secrets

are apropos to a love affair,

or some distant war as far

as that goes. Yet, what’s to be

done to stop it? What metaphor

within yourself were you willing

to sacrifice? As long as one

doesn’t mind water swallowing

your words, it’s simple enough

to drown in any nearby river.

I, too, hold my expectations

at a distance in order to live—

I’m not sure what occurred,

or even if we were just lovers.

 

(August 15, 2018)

Dream Journal #34: He Promised No Promises

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You were a dream, as was she,

but neither of you were the dream.

She kept shifting from dark to light.

Both of you were, simultaneously

light and dark, entwined like lovers

tangled in a kiss. He watched, intrigued

and somewhat guilty, as if a voyeur

peering through bedroom blinds.

The dream kept returning to you

and her together, but not together;

separate in your costumes and colors:

red and black lace against warm skin;

a part of the ambient background

reasserting itself again into day.

He woke often, then returned to you,

in the dream, with her. The dream

turned the morning back into itself,

until where each of them left off vanished,

like promises which were never made.

 

(May 7, 2018)

Dream Journal #33: Projections

 

images

She infused your words with hers

as you did not say what she intended.

The words in the letter in the dream

swirled and slipped across the page.

You began to read like a film voiceover,

then her voice became stronger erasing

your words as she spoke your confession.

You knew she knew you knew she wrote

to you she thought; but was unsure

the letter, your letter, her words said

as much. If only she did not know

the letter, as her desire, was a dream;

and no amount of bland exposition

could explain away her obsessions.

 

(May 2, 2018)