Saturday, January 11, 2014

Lion, Lamb; Farmer, Cowhand; Me, Gnostic Overlords

I haven't wanted to write much of anything for more than a year now, ever since I went to this editorial speed dating event sponsored by a literary magazine and one of the editors, a young woman, told me rhetorical questions in poetry are passive-aggressive and another editor, an older woman, told me how wonderful it is that I have "an outlet."

I get discouraged terribly easily. I was conceived unwanted, and things have improved only slightly since.

So I pretty much stopped everything. I've been thinking of telling various people and crying and such over the loss of writing but I just stop and think, you know, nobody gives a shit whether I'm writing or not. This is just something I'll have to try to accept with grace.

This morning I was lying in bed playing with my phone and I visited the Bibliomancy Oracle, an oracle device that uses lines from poetry, and this came up: "Do you relate more to the dove or the snake?" from the poem Form by Louise Mathias.

I thought: "Oh lord, neither," and then the rest of this poem happened. I've been obsessed for years with wondering whether the universe wants me to do any one thing or another, and it is pretty obvious that the universe does not want me to write poems, because as I was writing my daughter's shower caddy fell off the wall and my husband came in looking annoyed that I was still lying around in bed, and someone I'd been having an email dispute with buzzed me. I am also kind of an awful person (but not for any of the reasons my resentful stalkers think). But this still happened. Passive aggressive rhetorical questions, BAM!

The Dove or the Snake?
Oh lord, neither. They say they were once
The same thing, anyway. Every last animal
Presents an imperative: I will be here.
And I have no such thing, no such
Thing. I must excuse myself
For every fraction of an inch
My ribs rise with every breath.
The birds take everything:
I tell the pigeons in the parking garage,
Shitting on my grocery bags,
You do not belong here,
These are not your caves,

And the swallow flittering, scattering his lice
Above the salad bar at the Whole Foods:
Will no one put him out?
Must everything poison me?
As for the snake, agonizing over his skin,
Oh snake, nobody cares what you wear,
Nobody cares what you look like or
Whether you even show up.
Maybe a boy will poke at that
Yellowed translucence you shed,
Because children aren't afraid
Of garbage, what gets left behind.
We don't see that they've stopped
To examine it, and that shames us,
Both their license at picking at it
And the way that we walked on,
Talking, and almost lost them, again.

Here's the full Matthias poem.
Image: I stole this from an evangelical site. I don't understand why all the references to a verse about "sheep among wolves" are illustrated by pictures of a wolfj among sheep.