It’s another night where I need some encouragement. Again, channeling someone who thinks you are fabulous helps tremendously. Still Mom. She reads this every day, and I don’t want to let her down with crappy poetry on top of all I forced her to deal with years twelve through twenty-six. So, it’s Emmy Lou on the pandora for me until I have to switch to Satie like the poems told me to do. That must sound nutty, but listen to this geeky freakout I just had:
I was scrolling through one of my poetry apps (I have three and I like them) and I came across Cage, John. I didn’t know he wrote poetry! Because I mostly know about the piece called 4’33 where he comes out on stage and only looks as though he’s about to play the piano, but never plays a note for four minutes and thirty-three seconds. And a few other things, like how he made compositions out of all the sounds in his kitchen. Because I’ve been thinking about the Black Mountain College and its artists lately, I thought this was a sign. All about signs today. So, the poetry app kind of froze up (do people say that devices “freeze” still? Is there a word for that spinning thing the cursor turns into?) when I opened the poem, titled “William McN., who studied with Ezra Pound”. It didn’t open and all I saw was a blank screen. And then I was all OMG did he really write a completely blank poem to point out how if music is really all about the listening then surely poetry is too? Because that is too brilliant, but maybe also a big joke that everyone already knows, and maybe I am the bigger bananahead here? But then I looked up the poem online and there were words, and one of those words was “(sAtie)” spelled with the capital A and all. It’s a weird poem. I get it just about as much as I get 4’33, but which is sometimes a little and sometimes a lot, depending on how smart I feel that day. Anyhow, it was the second poem in a row I’d read with Satie in it. The first one was “Gymnopedies No.3” by Adrian Matejka, which I loved. Love sledding in a poem, and the line “Stop and shiver in it: the ring / of snow inside gloves, / the cusp of red forehead /like a sunset just waiting to top the chin of the hill”. Then I wondered why he didn’t call it pieces froides, because that is also Satie, and means Cold pieces, which would fit the poem. But maybe Matejka felt it would be too matchy. And how I would’ve probably lied and said I was listening to Pieces Froides even if I wasn’t just to make it matchy.
I think what is happening here, is I’ve had a frustrating teaching day, and now I’m pouring my heart out to the internet in hopes that someone will listen to me today. Damn adolescents. Makin’ me poemcrastinate. Tonight I’m going to practice some of what I thought about when watching the Aya Irini performance, and what I’ve been thinking about while reading Cage and listening to sAtie.
To just listen, and let the notes come clearly.
The fall is slowest moment, when the ice takes one limb one way and one another, worse way,
all the angles of the prism glint at once,
and a million hairpin thoughts glint on one solid drop,
and the dive is a gasp and a shock,
a return to the floating of the womb, where things should’ve been free and easy,
but were unmoored and dark and terrifying and we startled easily.
Time in the stillness of the spill to think of the bonesnaps of cost and pain and time off work,
of how to carry all that needs carried,
time to fear the whoop that cools the lungs with frozen air for its closeness to death,
enough left in the seconds for great comfort in surviving in this cold that would kill,
Time to wonder about a lover,
To wonder about the work of continuity and this animal’s next meal.
Time enough to surrender to sweeping humility at the foolishness of steps.
In the slightest breath before the ground, there is time even for laughter,
at all the sure steps that came before the slide.
The hard Earth that finally delivers breath back into the air in thuds of steam
has a tight grip and cools the wounds of the fallen,
soothing even as the tears slip from eyes squeezed fast against the world,
and the wedding parties in the trees toast with glazed leaves,
as the January sun takes the darkness behind from black
to the brightest persimmon.
hmmm. that was thinkier than I like. Blaming Satie, or John Cage. But, I still have time to shower before bed (hurrah!). And I can bring the feels tomorrow. Happy Monday, People of the Poems.