ah, there you are, dream girl, the tomboys i've always loved. of course, i'm not sure what you mean. when i first encountered real poetry in college (ee cummings, wallace stevens, ts. elliot) i didn't understand what it was all about. for six months i read every book on poetry i could find. the puzzle pulled me in. and it wasn't till i read a book by elizabeth drew (now a washington political writer) did things fall into place:
ALL POETRY IS ABOUT LOVE AND DEATH.
wow, could it be that simple?
my brother would never read my poetry. he said he couldn't understand it. ah, what is there to understand? of course, i too was fooled, thinking i had to know some secret language. what could be simpler than this
that's what all poetry is ultimately about. certainly, it disguises itself as sex and war. in fact i just read a bit of "The Poetry of Sex". a poem by auden about picking up a guy and an extended description of giving and getting a blow-job, specific beyond anything i'd ever read! .after reading more poems in the book i felt free to look at everyone in the coffee shop as a desirinjg, tormented sexual being (i've always agreed with freud, alas) i had a liberated few moments.
that's what poetry can do for me: change my relation to the world. it can make me playful, sad, aroused, amused. somehow reading life in shorthand i re-arrange my way of seeing, feeling, being. i feel sorry for poetry's reputation as un-masculine. too difficult to understand. a short poem can carry the key to events in the world.
Elect a clown,
Expect a circus
my friend Will summed up our time very neatly and i added a thought of my own:
MEMO TO A BORED NATION
"Life in wartime
is more interesting,"
said the old woman.
And now everyone
agrees with her.
sometimes all i need is an image and i can calm down, escaping from my own vision of the world. like all art poetry gives form to the void. it's worth a little effort.