Saturday, September 24, 2005

My Life

"My Life"
after Henri Michaux


Somehow it got into my room.
I found it, and it was, naturally, trapped.
It was nothing more than a frightened animal.
Since than I raised it up.
I kept it for myself, kept it in my room,
kept it for its own good.
I named the animal, My Life.
I found food for it and fed it with my bare hands.
I let it into my bed, let it breathe in my sleep.
And the animal, in my love, my constant care,
grew up to be strong, and capable of many clever tricks.
One day, quite recently,
I was running my hand over the animal's side
and I came to understand
that it could very easily kill me.
I realized, further, that it would kill me.
This is why it exists, why I raised it.
Since then I have not known what to do.
I stopped feeding it,
only to find that its growth
has nothing to do with food.
I stopped cleaning it
and found that it cleans itself.
I stopped singing it to sleep
and found that it falls asleep faster without my song.
I don't know what to do.
I no longer make My Life do tricks.
I leave the animal alone
and, for now, it leaves me alone, too.
I have nothing to say, nothing to do.
Between My Life and me,
a silence is coming.
Together, we will not get through this.


Joe Wenderoth

Here's an interview
--> "Poetic speech is born of a kind of luscious violence. As Stevens says, "it is an animal" inside the man playing the blue guitar—the tune is plucked by the animal's claws. I think this means it comes from pre-self emotion."
--> "There's a point when certain grave emotions are rendered preposterous by their surrounding circumstances. I think the impetus for the Letters was, in part, my fondness for the grandiosity of certain 19th-century poets and philosophers—it seems like that kind of grandiosity is no longer possible, like some great wave of Triviality has made it painfully apparent that all such grandiose Efforts at Truth are ridiculous in the extreme."

And this is his "post-poetic novel" (all scare quotes necessary) -- Letters to Wendy a collection of impressionistic mind-tuck comments trailing the thoughts left on unsent wendy's comment cards

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Concerning a Young Woman

Like a blush pippin ripening on its branch,
the top-most branch, the very tip of a branch
the pickers overlooked — if not overlooked,
then at least so high it outreached their hooks.

*

Like wild hyacinth scattered on a mountain course,
their petals trampled as the shepherds pass
working back down through the lowland vales, the burst-
blue water-colored stains now flower in the dirt.

— Sappho

5:02 PM  

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