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What Writing Is Like - (Ars Poetica) What Writing Is Like - (Ars Poetica)
by Dr. Lawrence Nannery
2014-02-05 11:35:12
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What Writing Is Like - (Ars Poetica)

Relevant here is Pindar’s tale of Phalaris the Sicilian
Who cruelly requested tasteful music with the evening meal,
Whose artificers obliged by working up a hollow bull of bronze
Whose throat was constructed so as to contort
The screams of a roasting captive
Into dulcets to delight an educated ear.
The fire lit under the bull:
One's pain the other's pleasure:
Consumption accompanying consumption.

poem01_400Drawn to the charisms of self-immolation,
The singer designs the flutings in his own body-eater,
Lightly steps inside, listens to his heatening heart,
Begins to glow with the glories of artistic feeling. …
He groans with satisfaction as he witnesses
His own skin bubble and blister, then turn yellow and crisp as vellum.
His hardening and blackening tongue, his stretched and burning vocal chords
Issue rasps and gasps.  They sound so beautiful.
Incandescent are the poet's eyes. …
In love with his own voluted second throat,
This the price he must pay to be the voice of the world.
He believes these bellows bestow upon all …
Beauty!

II

Excited as a pig sniffing after truffles
He seeks to dig into life, uprooting feelings and words.
He loves the smells of things  --  the sights, the sounds, the scuffles.
He digests them all, and waddles away  --  behind him warm moist immortal turds.

III

By the water's edge, alone on the beak of a stone palisade,
In the center of several winds, stands the house.

In his house, behind his window, at his desk, alone,
The poet sacrifices at an altar of augury.
Bent over the white paper, scratching at the white square,
Lovingly anxiously curling his hand around the pen,
He sits inside his trapezoid of light,
Lost in lonesomeness and fear.

The winds hit the windowpane with such a constant beat
That they gather into the rhythm of his heart.
The river below, rushing under the moon,
Sounds alarms with tongues of wavelets cracking at the ice.
Through the window he stares into the well of the night,
Searching out the evanescing textures of perceptions,
The free float and froth of things.
He listens hard for the exact right angle of sound,
Looks for eddies of visions and the dark shinings off the waters. …

Rubbing against the rock of silence, he waits. …
But then he sees himself reflected in the pane
And like the little lovebird who will not sing when alone
But who trills to his own companionship in a mirror,
Everything begins to flow.
Obeying the sacred obligation to fill up the blankness,
Corpulent with exhilarating fecundity,
He floods black jets in glistening lines all over the page.
He pours rich being into new names and new histories. …

Auscultating his own ear, looking inside his own eye,
He sees shadows on the wall, floating, engorging.
They grow, subside, wave up and loom:
Shadows indiscriminate, consuming, insatiable to be.
The past falls away, the future falls away.
In this holy trance the world is nothing, except for the shadows.
The master of shadows himself becomes a shadow,
Alive only in the consuming eye, the dancing ear.
Through running tears of laughter (scribblescrabble)
He chiaroscuroes what comes to light under the moon.

The night now turns inside out.
The room now lightens to blue.
The lepidopterist catches at the images that dance
Within range of his pinioning vision: images of love, many blows of death,
Titanic struggles of lust and hate (scribblescratching).
When will all this verse turn into poetry, after all?
Long songs of remorse and revenge, interstitial bursts of commiseration.
He catches them in their flight
And solemnly fixes them down onto lighted squares of white.

Writing scared, automatic, his owl eyes close with the involuntary songs.
His threshing energies grow louder, move slower.
In the cold calm of inching dawn he lies asleep,
Comfortable as a lazy cat in the heat of the day.
Beyond the turbulence of the night, behind sleeping lids,
Under the rays of the bright noon, he rests at the end of hours
Amid the colors and the noises of benevolent day, smooth and regular,
His open mouth sounding out innocent snores.

IV

The performing self enters the arenas
Clothed in detailed regalia, at the head of gloried ranks,
Greeted by flourishes enough and adulating cheers,
Courageous in his sharp craft, proud of his tradition.

When the drama is begun he will strut out onto the sands.
At center stage he will work his will on a fierce dark-eyed beast,
Controlling with precision this dance before death.
He is there to show mastery; the onlookers want blood.

In his archaic, sequined costume he presses forth
His colors of courage, iron-strict, in light feet of fancy,
Tiny black slippers.  His confidence excited
To the leaping point, he steps forward and away,
Delicately daring and daring, defeating defeat. 

The paces go through one by one, the crowd dazzled
Into admiring clouds of sound.
But the prettiest moment of all is when
He brings the blade up to his eye, square with his shoulder,
Measuring the withers, behind which beats a noble heart.
Then, teeth bared, he attends the danger of the moment
And, reaching over, makes the thrust straight through to the red of death.

V

Feel the power, coming through you …
Effortless wind hitting you …
Stay slung down, just enough to see ahead …
Feel the motor, feel the road, grinding on the wheels, inches beneath you …
Open your mouth … the roar charges right through your head …

You're in control.  Press down the pedal and fly.
On your skin, the road … every particle, so fast flying by …
Skimming tires whistle, the air sucks away your breath.
The ribbon of the road divider unwinds … the thrill trills …
Feel the feeling, fly!

You are in control, more than ever before,
More than you will ever be again.
Each word comes to you, as though by special order.
There is no time here.  You are floating along …
Feel your power … eating up the road … never tiring … each particular particle …

VI

DISCIPLE

Why don't you publish anything?

MAGNIFICENT  Z

Think of all those papers found in the houses of writers when they die: juvenilia, first drafts.

DISCIPLE

Why mention these things?

MAGNIFICENT  Z

Why do you suppose writers keep all that crap in their house?

DISCIPLE

I don't know…

MAGNIFICENT  Z

Fetishism and vanity.  Vanity and fetishism.  They can't bear to part with these scraps of paper because they identify with the little dark marks they have made upon them.  They cannot bear the thought of throwing the papers away.

DISCIPLE

Of course, it's their most personal stuff.

MAGNIFICENT  Z

Yes.  But everyone has personal things.  With writers there is a mystical belief that the words on the page are more real than anything else.  Therefore more important.

DISCIPLE

But do you write?  Do you write and not publish?

MAGNIFICENT  Z

I do write.  I write a great deal, in fact.

DISCIPLE

But you publish nothing.  Why not?

MAGNIFICENT  Z

I will not do it. 

DISCIPLE

O.K.  But why not?

MAGNIFICENT  Z

To avoid fetishism and misunderstanding.

DISCIPLE

Misunderstanding?  I don't get it.

MAGNIFICENT  Z

Written words are insidious!  Damn them!  They become independent of you as soon as you set them down on paper.  After you die they move around indiscriminately, and start to mean whatever they damn well want to, certainly not what you meant them to mean.  And readers!  Don't get me started.  Totally immoral.  I suspect that they lie in wait, waiting for you to die, so that then they can pounce on your words and do whatever they want with them.

DISCIPLE

I don't get it.  You are the Magnificent Z.  A man of true wisdom.  You inspire people all over the world!   I know your effect on people.  If you published books you could instruct, you could inspire so many more.

MAGNIFICENT  Z

Pish-posh.  The truth does not lie in the written word.  The written word is only an impoverished simulacrum of the spoken word.  But  --  I have never revealed this before to anyone  --  the truth does not lie in the spoken word either.  The spoken word is only an approximation of the inner word.  Only there lies the conception, the actual pure moment of generation, of inspiration.  And sometimes I am led to believe that even this is not pure enough.  The inner truth of the inner word perhaps lies back even farther, in the preverbal experience of Truth, the place where the Almighty dwells continuously. 

DISCIPLE

But won't you share this with us?  Aren't you afraid you will be taken as merely selfish?

MAGNIFICENT  Z

It always sounds wrong, I know.  It's taken me a lot of time, a lot of work, to achieve what I have, and can impart.  But the truth  --  not just any old truth, but the real truth, the truth of existence itself, of existence as a whole, must always sound like a puzzle to the uninitiated.  So what I am saying may sound like vanity and selfishness.  This is part of the problem.  In a word, language will not bear the truth, the whole truth that is…

DISCIPLE

So the whole truth can't be conveyed by words?

MAGNIFICENT  Z

Exactly!  Words, words, damnable words!  Imagine them, with all their powers of resistance, all their inexactitudes, multiplying inaccuracies as they bunch up together, sneaking into written form.  That way they have a field day!  They have a desire to abscond, to deceive, to exercise revenge upon their maker.  They know that their possibilities are endless.  Nothing can stop this process, once you set them down and give them their independence.

DISCIPLE

So, they are like children then.  And so, like some big fish, you have decided to swallow them all before they can do damage. 

MAGNIFICENT  Z

That's well put.  It's a way of keeping them in line.

DISCIPLE

But, here in your studio, I see piles and piles of writings.  You are against writing, yet you write?

MAGNIFICENT  Z

It's a compulsion.  A standoff.  I need to write to express my thoughts to myself.  They are not for public consumption. 

DISCIPLE

But doesn't this mean    doesn't this mean that the words have defeated you?

MAGNIFICENT  Z

No.  As I said, it is a standoff.  I shall have them destroyed at the time of my death. 

DISCIPLE

But no one can control the circumstances of his death, or what people will do afterwards.  Don't your feelings about words require you to destroy them as soon as possible after you generate them?

MAGNIFICENT  Z

Perhaps.  I never thought about that.

DISCIPLE

It seems that you should have, if your ideas on the subject are true.

MAGNIFICENT  Z

How can you say such a thing?  How could you be so cruel?  I could never destroy them, you ninny you!  These are my beloved children.

VII

The dialogue between husband and wife was hysterical.
She felt that she would kill herself but wanted to kill him first.
She had found a love poem in his drawer,
About an old love whose name she knew.
It said things that really count.
She was purple with anger, and sure he'd never loved her.
She destroyed the poem, naturally.
Put it in the fire without telling him.

He shouted at her in defensive indignation,
"Jesus Christ, honey, it's just a fucking poem.
It doesn't necessarily mean all that, for Christ's sake."
But she was inconsolable.
She knew, and would not be reasonable.

Going up the stairs to his lair he raged and roared.
He wished paper had never received pen.
He wished he'd never bothered himself, never had had the urge.
Now up in the attic he whined about her stupidity, her unfairness,
Mistaking art for life.

He sat in the easy chair, chin sunk onto his chest,
And recreated the poem word for word, sounding it out --
To him it was the tolling of his heart.
Truly this was the best thing he had ever done.
The desire seeped through.
Every word ran true.

He could not deny it,
His old love was upon him, resting her head on his shoulder,
Cooing to his lovewords, smiling,
Rubbing his chest, looking good, smelling delicious.
It necessarily meant all that, and now he was getting aroused.

He was feeling dizzy, he was getting confused.
He had to think:
From now on he had to have a way of hiding this stuff,
Hide it in a place where a wife could never find it.
He bent over, put his head between his knees.

VIII

Mungo is blue.
Over the breakfast cereal he sobs to his mother:
"It is horrible, mother, simply horrible.
I cannot bear it much longer.
In fact I should put an end to myself if I knew
That this would go on and on."

Mungo suffers from inspiration.
Art is killing him.
He cannot sleep well; it is a vampire;
It sits on top of his chest every night.
Whenever he pops off it starts to suck his blood.
Mungo is tired and listless all day.
Food has no taste; he is always impatient, irritable.
He has no time for anything.
He doesn't enjoy anything.
His mind is always someplace else.

Into the oatmeal he moans, knowing mother won't listen.
Knowing she won't hear him.
Knowing that if she hears him she won't understand him
And that if she hears him and understands him
She won't really understand him.
"Mother, it is intolerable.  It is intolerable to be chained down by
This, whatever it is.  It is too much of a burden.
I get no satisfaction out of it.
And I can get no satisfaction out of anything else because of it.
It's eating up my life, mother.

"And, I don't like to write, mother.
But I cannot give it up; it is the one thing that gives me meaning.
But I am just a conduit; I get nothing out of it.
It is selfish and closed, it doesn't give … and, and … it's so horrible!"
He covers his face with his hands.
"Mother, all I want is to be happy."

After dinner each day she leads him to his room.
(He is her offering to the wider world.)
She knows he will become quiet in the quiet room.
In the comforting room he will once more become
The sweet-tempered groom of his own feelings,
The dung beetle of his own and all of suffering humanity's feelings.
He suffers so much!  Gives so much!
He forms and shapes and molds and worries beyond his strength.
She turns on the overhead for him, and he goes and lies down.
When she closes the door she waits to hear the quiet rustle of papers.
Everything will be all right now. …

Not a family man, not a man of affairs,
The monkish boy lies on his bed, lies on his stomach,
Lost amid his scraps of paper,
And once again begins again, knowing only this  --

He has to do this.

IX

The poet, having decided to do himself in,
Slits his wrists at his writing table
And watches his life's blood, purple, flow.
He nods his head in growing grogginess
And waits for his chosen end.

Wait a minute!  This isn't funny!
Just got a great idea for a new poem.

He dips his finger in the purple
And scrawls this last, perfect phrase on the tabletop,
Perfectly legibly.  And then, immediately,
The deed done, his face falls flat into it,
Smudging everything.

X

We didn't even hear about it for a couple of weeks.
True, we hadn't seen him for awhile,
But, Billie and me, we didn't think anything of it.
We knew he went off on trips.

The queer old gent down the hall, that's what we used to call him.
He lived alone, and always, when you met him, he was alone.
He always smiled when you met him.  He was nice.
He was totally bald.  He was old.
We never knew his name.
When we heard that he was dead, dead and buried two weeks,
It wasn't a surprise exactly, but maybe like a bell sounding
In the office of the stationmaster when the express passes by.

The very next day Mrs. McCloskey came by
To ask if we would come with her to look in his rooms.
Mind, she didn't want anything for herself, but
She was determined not to let the super get all the best stuff,
Or let him just throw everything into the garbage sight unseen.
She had the key.  We went along to see.

Well, the whole place was nothing but dust and disorder.
You could tell the super'd turned everything upside down,
Looking for bankbooks.  Not a surface was free.
You never saw so much junk.
We looked at a thousand things.  We could use nothing.
Mrs. McCloskey told us his name was Arthur Long,
And he'd lived in the building more than twenty years.
She didn't know what he had died of, but he was only in his 70's.
He had lived on a pension for some years.
He had been a clerk for the City, but a very important clerk they said.
He had no family  --  no one but some nieces out in Oregon.
The landlord had called them, but they made no claims;
They said, throw everything out.  How sad, she said,
And then, like a chipmunk, she resumed her poking.

The super came in and asked if we saw anything we liked.
He steered us to the kitchen, but we have all the pots and pans
We'll ever need.  One old lady went through his record collection,
Which was extensive, but nobody wanted any of them.
Billy and me, we don't enjoy music of that kind much.
One old lady said he was a cultured man, took trips abroad,
Loved to sing and converse, and could be very gay.
She said he said he was often lonely,
And wished sometimes he'd married.

The place was topsy-turvey.
In one corner there was a big mahogany desk.
Almost up to the ceiling it was piled with papers.
There must have been thousands pieces of paper there.
They were all handwritten-on, and not very hard to read.
It was beautiful, beautiful handwriting, and we found
That the sheets we were reading were poems.
I wondered, what if all this stuff here is poems?
Mrs. McCloskey and the other old ladies had never heard
Of any poems.  They kept saying that he didn't have any family,
Not even a ladyfriend, and they never heard of any poems.
Billy and me sat there on the floor with all these papers
All around us, reading.  We read them out loud.
We found love poems and poems to dogs and children and flowers,
And poems to paintings, a poem about a battle we never heard of,
And there was a poem to God.

The super asked us if we wanted the desk or anything, but we said no.
The old ladies left, one after the other, over time.
Billy and me, we sat there reading for hours.
It was so unexpected!  So interesting!
We lost track. We got stiff. Billy finally stood up and said,
"Let's get out of here before we never get out of here."

Next day that desk was on the curb out front.
Magnificent in the light it was, but we could think of no use for it.
Next to it stood ten or a dozen bags, all the remains I am sure
Of Arthur Long.
How horrible it is, I said to Billy, to die like that,
With no one to claim you, and strangers going through your things.
(The dust under our fingernails still hasn't all come out, weeks later.)
But, still, I wish I could have one day met
That woman he wrote that one poem to,
The woman he called his schoolteacher, when he was a boy,
And whom I suppose he loved till the day he died.
He said in his poem to her that she had "crescent eyebrows compelling,"
That her face was a rose in a rising Sun,
And that like water having found its lowest place
He could never move away from her, but had settled in his spot forever.

XI

Oh, to have been there!
Well, Karstan had been there.
In Paris in the twenties  --  the golden age  --  and he had known them all.
Now in his capacious apartment in the best part of New York City
The names of those giants are always bouncing off his walls.

Karstan is 84.  He hardly writes poems anymore.
He sits on his sofa like a Buddha, a seeming smile on his lips,
Fit for a painting.  Four young women flank him,
One at each arm, one at each leg,
Basking in the endless turns of memorialization.
They remember each well-worn story,
And seem to love them more and more with each retelling.

He has outlived the others, and here he is,
The only link with the magical time.
Interviewers fill his nights and days,
His bedrooms and hallways, with questions never new.
Awards and accolades cover all the walls, fill trophy cases.
People can't seem to get enough of this stuff.

But inside Karstan is sad.
He was too happy in that sullen country.
Now he's too sullen in this happy country.
He's never felt exactly … well, quite right.
But he'll take the borrowed fame.
Back in the old days he never got the girls.
Now, young girls can't get enough of him!
He'll take it, though he can't use it.

Today here comes the mistress of one of his dear dead friends,
Tille Zaharias, a woman who hated him in the old days,
But who flirts with him shamelessly nowadays.
Today they'll have tea  --  usually it's lunch but today it's tea  --
And they'll have a little audience with those beautiful girls,
Whose faces will beam on them like spotlights,
And it won't be bad. …

"Tell them Lazlo," says Tille, as she rubs his arm and smiles,
"Tell them the little story of that day when we went on that picnic  --
The one where the farmer's pigs were looking for truffles and messed everything…"
She giggles a little, in that way that aged ladies can.
She eyes him seductively.
She is so much prettier than she was back then.
Do ugly women age better, is that it?
She prods him, but he cannot remember this one.
Nor can he remember remembering it, though the faces of the girls
Are asserting, their nodding necks allow,
They already know this one  --  tell it again please!

Karstan is secretly aghast.  Is this then his fate,
To roam around in the past, rummaging for tales
That will amuse old ladies and young girls?
He may be 84, but he senses that he has to figure out how to escape.
He's never been married, but now if he took the richest of these young girls
And ran off with her, to a castle on the top
Of a mountain in Transylvania, wouldn't that cap it all,
Save the day and get him away, provide him a poetical conclusion?

But, meanwhile, what the hell, why not give them what they want?

XII

Sometimes, writing a poem is just like dying.
Take pity on me when I reveal some painful, hurtful thing.
This is what I get for trying to turn memories into artistic things.
If I knew it was going to be this bad I never would have started in in the first place.

I get lightheaded, dizzy  --  I cannot breathe.
My diaphragm muscles gang up on me and squeeze.
I feel like rolling in the dust like Hercules.

What am I bullshitting about?
Don't I just love it, though  --  this second-hand suffering?
I rail that it costs me so much, costs me my life,
But I could always just stop if I wanted to. …
Don't I just love this wallowing, this wallowing loving?
I'm a nutcase, that's what I am.
My thoughts leap and spread like a spider cancer,
Infecting everything with embarrassing sentiment and fatal hatreds.

Thank you, you people out there, the ones who loved me and left me.
Thank you for screwing me and screwing me up in a thousand different ways.
You know who you are out there.
I could not have done it without you.
Thank you, I needed the pain to get me going, to give me grist, gas for travel.
You gave me the need to write and the writing gives me pleasure.
Whatever it's called, I'll take it.

XIII

It's about reality.
The function of the poet is not to do or prescribe but to say it.
He has the gift of insight, denied his fellow man.
It is a priestly function, a dangerous occupation.
It's about being real.
The education of the poet is everything, everywhere.
The methodologies are infinite:
Sitting on the steps of the poor; going to whorehouses to gain the wisdom of the girls;
Watching the folks in the museums; watching depleted folks in the subways;
Hitching across this wide country of ours; taking the tramp steamer, slowly inching to unheard of places; entering into dialogue with those who would kill you, if they knew what you were up to;
And dazzling dazzling women, for blank intimations.

The world is infinite.
Therefore the poet too must be infinite,
To reflect it all, and bring it all home to the race.
Everything human is open, everything is useful, and, in a way, good.
You have to be open, you have to be able to convert it into art.
When your work is done you may look on it
And thrill yourself.

XIV

The routine of long standing:
The great man, now far past middle age,
A lonely widower, blind, a father of grown daughters,
Fanatic, political, sensitive, godly, inexpressibly expressive,
Will speak out as always the wealth within him.
His daughter, in a facing armchair, will sit and listen and copy.

A severe silence fills the house.
They both know the importance of the work.
He, the greatest of living poets, has a cache of wisdom to reveal.
He is a forbidding man.  She casts down her eyes, but feels uplifted.
His dead eyes are black and white, and cold.
All that is warm about him are his words,
Which of course are immortal.  His goal is that they be of service
In quelling some of the evil in this world. 

Father and daughter face off in the study.
The two are dressed all in black.
He asks her if she is ready, then begins.
His voice was never sonorous, but sonorous are the words.
He is the master, the magician, who in his youth
Conquered all forms, all languages.
These (he'd always known) would be his instruments.

Today he is quite fertile; it is not always so.
The dictation proceeds for hours.
It is a day in Spring.  The birds are chirping wildly, happily.
She is lost in wonder once again by this beloved man, her old but holy man.
She feels lifted, as though into the air.
Papa's agonist oration, the tragic reality of man; the words shoot
Above their heads.
The words, made of air, lighter than air, redeem all his sorrows,
All her sorrows.

XV

They're going to interview him, but they don't know shit
About what real writing is like.
It's fated: his lucid words won't come across on the T.V. screen,
But the nick he got while shaving will show up big.

When the commercials are over, and the lights come on
The T. V. type starts in with a fatuous question,
Having warned him to shorten things up, to give room for more commercials.
He feels like punching the bastard.

All last night he was in front of that typewriter, doing his thing.
He felt that he had been defeated, and went out for a snort, came home late,
Came in to the studio on three hours' sleep, and he's just not in the mood for this crap.
But he signed on to do this a long time ago, so let's get it over with.

It's 9 A.M. on a Sunday morning.
He probably looks on-screen like he was up all night in some dive.
Well, he was, but soon this will be over … so don't let it throw you, old man,
You've been in much tighter spots than this.

They are all so stupid, these T.V. folks:-
Now they've brought on a wimpy bald professor,
Who thinks all writers are naturally savages, and isn't that nice?
It's all unreal bullshit  --  words without action.

He hates that he'll come across with no charm, a grizzled warrior with grizzled voice.
Well, that's the persona, to have no persona,
But he would prefer it if the interviewer had at least read the goddamn book.
It's all so phony and stupid  --  I mean, what's the point here?

Again and again the guys behind the camera give the throat cut sign.
Everything must be said in five words or less, we're going to commercial.
There is never time to develop anything, say anything of substance.
What has all this got to do with his books, or any books, with being a writer?

He keeps himself steady by the comforting thought that it soon will be over.
He can then slouch over to a cool dark bar, and sleeze his way
Through this hot summer's day, the lengthy interview at last consummated  --
Probably nobody's watching anyway.

They were kind enough to ask him and to pay him beforehand.
Now the professor wants him to come to the college and mingle and tell all.
Hell, that'll be the day!  No way!
It's boring, and besides, he'd scare all the little English majors to death.

XVI

He taught me the words:

Flowing words, fouling words, liquid words, lilting words,
Cursive words, cursing words, grunting words, grudging words,
Implicit, explicit words, inexplicable words,
Dashing words, crashing words, angry, destructive, boom-bashing words,
Racing, razing, fazing words, tracing, hazing, grazing words,
Words that strut, shift gear, refuse to do what they are told, in other words, proud words.

He said, "Tell the words lest the world forget itself."

Words that fly off and take on a life of their own,
Words that wrestle you to the ground,
Words that roll in the dust, in joy or in agony,
Words that rave, and starve, and crave,
Words that are the object of desire,
Words that lift us off the floor in admiration,
Infectious words, vexatious words, and words that are drunk and wise,
Jackhammer words, rat-a-tat words, words that break down doors,
And words that will lie in bed with you, and rub your tummy-bun.

There are words that throw sucker punches, and words that we will never forsake.
There are words that tell all, and give us satisfaction,
And words that are caves, that give shelter, where we can hide.
There are words that are the wrong words but somehow make sense anyway,
Words that drop off a ledge, words that land in our lap, words that sneak through jungles.
And there are the serious words that are serious, and playful ones that are more serious.

In the center of the funnel of the circling fray the coruscating sound is all.
Use the words, delight in the words, cavort with them and sing with them.
Be used by them, and do not falter, they are so many and all of them are yours!

From him one could learn
Exuberant, exaggerated, exultant words, distended, unbended, exiguous words.
Happy words or angry words, sensuous words or sensational words.
Disspiriting, despising, disappointing words.
Imperious words and impersonal words, lancing words and glancing words,
Words that sit all in a row, neat as tiny pets.
Funny words, adding up, that add up to something sad.
Godly words and goddamn words,
And words that leave room for no more words.

It can never end, for when it ends that will be no end,
For there will be no one to know.

He taught me: you are not the master, just the medium.
Let them glow through you, firefly, then disappear.

To rush through words, to crush through to words,
And love with words and be loved with words,
And disappear into words, and be the way of them.

And
After the words to be silent, that is the goal.

 


      
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Emanuel Paparella2014-02-05 20:28:41
How true, Larry! As Vico has well taught us: man makes art (writing etc.) but equally true is that art (writing, etc.) makes man.

When Dante begins his journey into Paradiso he warns the reader that language will fall short on what he is attempting to describe.

Aquinas too, at the end of his laborious writing life wanted to burn all he had written after a mystical vision. He felt that words and language were inadequate means for the portrayal of truth. And yet, it is language which distinguished us from all other beings within time and space.

And of course we have John's powerful statement: "In the beginning was the Word." God is more of a poet and less of a rational philosopher and the universe is his poem, and he cares for his writing.


Jon2014-02-05 21:10:56
Staning Dr. Lawrence Nanner


Leah Sellers2014-02-06 03:05:32
Dear Mr. Lawrence,
Wow ! Thank you !


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