Saturday, May 18, 2013

i'm chagrined. it's not the first time. i talked about myself way too much, telling many things i'd never told anyone. now, of course, i'm embarrassed. being old, you should be wise, exclaimed one of king lear's nasty daughters. alas, it really doesn't seem to work that way. i know better than to reveal the soul and overwhelm a listener with personal details. who wants to hear them, really?as they say, i forgot myself, even while elucidating an autobiography. of course, i know the truth can never be told. any honesty about ourselves a distortion. 

i guess that's a good example of overdoing it. the source, to impress, the explosion of latent ambition. along with most people, i believe i can become somebody. fat chance. the most i can do is amplify what i've been given, broadcast it as though something totally new in the world. can i really be a creative person without feeling i'm a god? after all, poetry the short-hand of heaven, love and death on the same plane, a cryptic translation of a canonical text, a successful reduction of our dualistic language to the one-celled creature we once were, swimming in the brine. 

actually, i need to celebrate my tutor from college who recently died, jack gilbert. here are a couple of articles:

he certainly was stubborn, in a good and inspiring way, i think. 

and that brings me back to being. i discovered the other day, feeling like i could just sit still and soak up nature for the rest of my life, basically doing nothing,  i felt like a fully-grown man, a most unusual state-of-being! unfortunately, it didn't last. my nervous energy asserted itself, the searcher, the explorer, the person who's always believed he'd find the truth of existence somewhere, in a movie, a book, a guru, the bad cat of ambition bristling. 

okay, i have had a realization.  a life without romance a dead, meaningless one. going thru old love letters, i understood those encounters enlivened me, brought out the spontaneous and foolish child, who enjoyed being totally ridiculous and off the wall, emotionally over the top, blinded by the glitter and sweep of goddesses. settling down cost me my vision, my willingness to be uncomfortable. no wonder i could throw out a truck-load of diaries kept in this town. 

as everyone knows, circulation, of all kinds, the key to a vibrant existence, and nothing sends the blood pumping like the wonderful illusion of love. not true love, certainly, where you encourage the best in a mate, rather an attempt at ecstasy, doomed to fail and be revived with someone else who seems descended from olympus, until i see the human being (disappointed) inside. since the soul-mate may never arrive, at least i've suffered the touch of magic,  to feel i've lived and have the will to go on, to try again, even though the odds of the house are all on its side. 

Searching For Pittsburgh

The fox pushes softly, blindly through me at night,
between the liver and the stomach. Comes to the heart
and hesitates. Considers and then goes around it.
Trying to escape the mildness of our violent world.
Goes deeper, searching for what remains of Pittsburgh
in me. The rusting mills sprawled gigantically
along three rivers. The authority of them.
The gritty alleys where we played every evening were
stained pink by the inferno always surging in the sky,
as though Christ and the Father were still fashioning the Earth.
Locomotives driving through the cold rain,
lordly and bestial in their strength. Massive water
flowing morning and night throughout a city
girded with ninety bridges. Sumptuous-shouldered,
sleek-thighed, obstinate and majestic, unquenchable.
All grip and flood, mighty sucking and deep-rooted grace.
A city of brick and tired wood. Ox and sovereign spirit.
Primitive Pittsburgh. Winter month after month telling
of death. The beauty forcing us as much as harshness.
Our spirits forged in that wilderness, our minds forged
by the heart. Making together a consequence of America.
The fox watched me build my Pittsburgh again and again.
In Paris afternoons on Buttes-Chaumont. On Greek islands
with their fields of stone. In beds with women, sometimes,
amid their gentleness. Now the fox will live in our ruined
house. My tomatoes grow ripe among weeds and the sound
of water. In this happy place my serious heart has made.
Jack Gilbert
and more flowers: