The internet is killing writers. The death of art comes as a stagnation of unique expression, as a homogenization, each the same as the next, as souls borrowed, though only the scarry skin worn, the words and format, popular to a given time, fashionable and faddish, and all too familiar. Death comes– when writing is no longer writing, no longer a voice of one’s own, no longer a singular soul’s symphony, nor its autorequiem. Death comes– of this prevalent mimicry, an entire generation of writers, stillborn, that which could have been, but is not.
I’ve left those places where most words haven’t enough honesty to feed my desire to know another, often penned hastily, and primarily, if not only, for fawning accolades, left behind those places where maidens swoon, falling headfirst into the tall emptiness, those places where gods are made, dutifully marketed, though where divinity is a dimensional notion, its blouse low, its hem raised upon its thigh, as is brilliance, tossed about promiscuously. No one will believe me, of course, of this death, though the corpses lay piled and the Carrion Crows peck the grayed fetuses, not until we’ve noticed collectively, that there is nothing gifted of us, or to us, that the ache has not been sated, that it remains, its murmurs echoing within the stone sarcophagus. The great communion, that promise of hope, has proven itself mythical.
As is the hope for being understood, in this time, another wish, deceased. Fickle is our love for one another’s essence, slight and frail our intrigue, the hunger to know another ethereally, quieted, tho a writer can be fully understood only in the totality, every word connected to another word or phrase once written, or one yet to be. Here, in this twitch-and-tremble time, where the next destination is only a Pavlovian click away, none are ever known, thoughts never lingered upon, nor depths explored. Here, where recognition comes through reciprocation, and through duplication, nothing genuine exists anymore. There is no truth; there is no honesty, and they are not synonymous.
Though I write for whomever may find something sacred within, and if so graced, to give a voice to and for those silenced, I also know that I write for someone yet unknown, perhaps a person, or persons, who shall be born, and who shall live, long after the last poem has been written, after the final prose is penned, perhaps for a soul a hundred years from now, after technology has consumed itself into its own swirling blackness, perhaps when we’ve learned again to love another mind, without haste’s dismissiveness, perhaps for and to a spirit visiting from an era when words were written in the heart’s crimson, and their honey and brimstone coveted within amber-flicker solitude. I am in this time, but I am not of this time; I’ve known this one truth, since a boy, while all others have become revealed as dissemblance, or as fool’s wishfulness, dust blown, in Autumn’s tawdry winds. In this regard, writing remains both, hope’s brick-alley whispers, and its snow-mountain yawps, and yes, its sea-worn green-bottle epistles.
Friendship is too small a word for this which we share, as has love proven too unsound a home for us, tho its russet bricks remain– surviving even our tempests’ furious bluster.
“All men want that..”
“That is untrue. Some of us, or at least one of us, wishes only to know your nuance, those things missed, or disguised, and to learn the depth of one’s shadow; each with dimension, ’tis where we reside.”
I listened to some poets today, and the Mexican poet read a poem about prejudice against his people, and the black poet read a poem about oppression against his people, and one white poet read a poem about depression, and another hated most people, so he proclaimed, while one fellow read a poem about being black–when he wasn’t, and they all wore proud, colorful flags until ragged tatters and dangling frays, and they shouted veiny, red-faced spittle, thrusting young fists into the compliant, fluorescent emptiness, as I watched wondering– who my people might be– feeling rather gray.
It was in a prior life, before the bustling din, and the empty ring of tin, before the restless rustle of concession’s sin. I’d been pure, or more so than after time’s cowardly compromise; I’d been the limitless possibility told of in faith’s fable. I was a sculptor. Gypsy tramps, and theater-mask molesters spoke to me, words which a narcissistic world couldn’t hear, each pair of eyes confiding in me their secrets. I’d seen things, stories drifting in whispers, and inscrutable emotions which bard’s scratching quill hadn’t yet exhumed, I’d been privy to that which lay sobbing deep within the shadows’ keep of the gnarled sidewalk hobblers and the salt-eyed ragged children of the street. I was an artist.
I’d written then, though I hadn’t thought myself a writer. Two decades drowned in conformity’s shallow millpond, I now write again, and I wonder, as I begin to return to who I have always been beneath sanity’s guise, if writing itself is not art. Is this not who I am? Do these palaces built of words not need artist’s eyes to gain entry?
What my hands may craft with paper and clay is simple mechanics, an experienced hand’s tool-turn, easily– a counterfeiter’s street market mockery. What I may see, what I may feel, and pass on, what I may question, turning on its reluctant end to shake out its severed-head truth, would that not be where art resides?
I’ve a recalcitrant avarice to feel my eyes slashed open again by the jagged-glass monocle of those years. I’ve ravenous need to return to who I’d been, to see once more– things as they are. Life then, was honest. The foul immigrants swearing, breaking things upstairs, the bare-knuckle fights in the street outside my window, the shuffling hostility of the trains jostling down the tracks which ran behind my dark apartment, pushing deep through evening’s screaming virginity– it was all authentic, every one of us an exposed nerve, though we hadn’t enough paupers to assemble in revolution. Still, I wish only feel– as the artist I am beneath all this. Though, I shall never call myself a poet.
The person in the mirror, made-up, polished, primped, and preened, is a fraud. That person doesn’t even exist.
We are the mud beneath our fingernails, we are the grave from which we’ve crawled in defiance, we are what we have fought, clawing, to achieve.
We are the blood on our split knuckles, we are the battles we’ve survived, we are the principles we dare defend, we are the people for whom we would die fighting; we are the sum of the love we have given.
That person in the mirror, the imposter, the pretender, hasn’t the balls for this sort of thing.
This place, for writers, is a playground, its sharp edges removed. Though it’s on the playground where we first learn if we’ve any fight in us at all, and secondarily, which of our spoken principles merit perilous or injurious defense. It’s on the playground where our will is first measured.
Driving, the horse corpse in the passenger seat, stilled, tho its woeful eyes opened, I’d passed a small park in town, with rolling hills, too smooth and round for a heathen to set foot upon, and another where she and I had planned to meet, its wide lawn, flat and closely cropped, the laughter of children quieted under summer’s heavy heat.
All of us are categorized as good or as bad, I’d thought, labeled as useful, or as not– for those Machiavellian, or in both ways of thinking, and in another way of speaking, tho we’d give it different names, all are sorted– our bodies piled– as forgiven, or as unforgiven, and the horse agreed, and silence greeted early evening’s blush.
It’s too simple a thing to think of love within the tidy boxes of right or wrong. Neither truly exists; there is however, peril: both of losing love, and of finding it.
“To go unnoticed is by no means easy.” ~ Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guittari
A quote, a thought outside of its context, displaced, a dark shadow frozen within the transparent water-wall of our tilting ocean of individual perspective, becomes a wave that shall never fall, never laying its weighty truths upon us, staying upright, defiantly, as shoulder-strap tourists snap flash-photos of its petrified impossibility, grinning with fool’s confusion, this– a fleeting tryst with that which does not even exist.
Is there any majesty remaining of a notion without its flanking guards, those thoughts to its left and to its trusted right, those stone-tower sentries to the north and to the south? And if a single thought is cleaved in dimension by its missing relativity, then what of us, merely human– not deities such as thoughts might be– Might we exist without others? And might our thoughts themselves exist without us, transcending and surviving our sullen earthliness, left as shining swords of valor embedded in stones and awaiting a worthy suitor?
Tho to consider the subtler notion, that of going unnoticed– ‘tis only a question of motive. If wished, one might easily slide into the nothingness, stepping only within those shadows cast by others’ gleaming vanity, tho never stalking, hopping from one blurry umbrage to the next, leaving the haughty to their mumbles during their frequent moments of braggadocios distraction, hopscotching through the towns and cities until night brings its tall ruin to the day.
Such might be a poet– with no name, and such is a poem, a divine thought shared, a moment’s essence spared our haste and airs, a thing– which may survive the brevity, spurning the echo-clamor of fame.