Saturday, May 8, 2010

When Doing It Wrong Is Right

Writing poetry is such a weirdass thing to do. And reading it to other people even more so. I'm always like WTF? Then I go to something like the Cliff Lynn/Rocky Jones production last night [would give a link but it's pretty much wholly facebooked] and I get it. It's everything ELSE other than creative pursuits (and playing and hanging out and food and love and, OK, healing too) that is a weirdass waste of time. Why do we do anything else?

I think it has something to do with coming to poetry pretty late in the game. I wrote a couple poems in college, but was known as a fiction writer/journalist. Then in 1995, I was home from work for a week taking painkillers and it reminded me of some feelings and I wrote a poem. Then there was a day in July or August, 2006 I think, and I was running on the C&O towpath and a poem came into my mind. It gave me something to think about while running, because I don't wear an iPod. Then that just kept happening. My poems are old-fashioned and I'm probably doing it wrong.

I'm so creepy and dull about poetry, I have no training or academic background, don't know what I'm talking about, as worth listening to as a right-winger saying "I know what I like!" I'm also slavishly, sometimes ickily devoted and promotional to people who run readings and do presses and such, because it can be so fucking hard and I want to just be a Big Fan and say how wonderful they are.

Having said all that, sometimes I'm on target in spite of myself, and I bought a book by Le Hinton last night, and if you don't do it too, you're doing it wrong.

They also let me read a poem in time for me to get back to DC and get the fishnets on in time for the fundraiser. And to dance to some DJs who were also doing it wrong in the best way possible.

Here's the poem, which happened because I was at the beauty shop yesterday and saw a sign that said "your hair can save the earth." They're filling oil booms with hair. And I was reading this at the same time; Oniony but sharp enough to have fooled several major news outlets, and therefore me, until I could get to where I could check it out.

Beauty Shop

Is it a myth that hair and nails
Grow on in the grave? These vain snips,
Dyed buttercup and crimson, may
The multitudinous seas incarnadine.
The engineers are looking for
A way to stop the bleeding. Been there.
Their defenses booms and concrete,
Like fighting fire with counter burns.
The seas, like us, contain multitudes,
We suck up the oil,
The fish suck up the oil,
The soil sucks up the oil,
And so it is that I suck
Up a blot of old Dick Cheney.
When I die, I'd prefer to be burned.

8 comments:

JHepCat "72" said...

Can't say I've written any particular poetry in years.

Used to write lyrics and accompany them, with a penchant for country style titles: "It Doesn't Matter What I Think (If That's the Way You Feel), "She Didn't (Want My Ass Like I Wanted Hers), and "Push Me (Pull You)," a song I wrote, and sang, but really, is for a woman to sing. And if that's too...well, it is. There.

Came across your blog 'cause at some point you reference Jack Salamanca. My teacher, too. Spring '79. The Best.

Maria Padhila said...

re Salamanca: you just sent me to teh google to make sure he's still among the living; looks like it, sigh of relief. He is so interesting and he was so kind to me!
re songs: those sound like the kinds of songs the choir i'm in would like to sing. songs with parentheses hold such richness. but maybe the problem with the push/pull is you're doing it wrong.

Slothrop said...

First paragraph cuts straight to the heart. In a nutshell, the whole spirit I've always gotten from your writing.

& a valuable spirit. I wonder if you've ever taught writing? Might be the salvation of some 18 year olds at the crossroads.

Slothrop said...

First paragraph straightened me up. In a nutshell, the whole spirit I've always gotten from your writing.

& a valuable spirit. I wonder if you've ever taught writing? Might be the salvation of some 18 year olds at the crossroads.

Dallas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathy said...

Wow. No idea (never would have guessed) you came to poetry so "late." Your stuff blows me away every time-- gives me pause-- makes me think-- makes me feel. It's so good.

For me, tmz.com is wasting time. ( : And facebook too, mostly. I think the challenge is (if we're lucky enough to have the luxury) to find the non-wasting quality in as much of our tasks and time as possible. I think it's a lot more challenging for what I would call a REAL LIVE ARTIST like yourself; I always think brilliant artists just really were not meant to have to deal with the mundane shit of the world (I should say: mundane shit which can feel ok and even calming to an only semi-artist, like me). Someone else should be cleaning and organizing and driving people around while you (and they) just create beauty and illuminate the truths of the world. If we lived in a different sort of society, this would be the case. Another way to put this is to say that when I read what you've written, I feel like I should be brushing your hair, massaging your feet, and doing your laundry so you can have the space to write some more. ( :

Anonymous said...

Just. Freaking. Great.

mark said...

Friends are a sigh
Or a wisp
Or a decision
Or a dance.
Pieces we scatter
Or bonds we knot
Or memories we preserve.
Or fonts we hunt down in cyberspace
To preserve the illusion.