4.09.2009

dodging stanzas on a rainy day

I have nothing to say, and I am saying it, and that is poetry. -- John Cage

I've been reading entirely too much of Billy Collins' poetry. A dangerous thing!

Goodness knows I love his poems--they're addictive, and even if I say I'll just read a few before bed, I'll down twenty without realizing it. They always feel like letters written especially to me, by some uncle that I've never met but who understands me well. (Although I've been arguing with him more through Ballistics, this latest work that I've been reading...)

So. Confirmed: I love the way he writes. I love his poems. I love the way they twist at the end, how real they feel, how they might be happening next door or all around us.

And that's the problem! Too much Billy Collins, and then I walk around on a day like today, when it's grey and rainy, and my sister and mom and I are having a quiet day, and I start seeing poems everywhere. Like the cobwebs that appear on the ceiling, and I can only see them when the light is just right? Too much Billy Collins means that the light is everywhere, the poems are dangling from every corner and sometimes no corner at all.

Then I think: why not rummage around for a new notebook? Why not juice up my fountain pen again? Why not sit in the odd corners of our house and perfectly describe the pelting of the rain, or the clatter from the kitchen as my sister saut├ęs zucchini, or the way my metal bird paperweight looks suddenly alive? (I'm sure it blinked.)

Why not?

(Meanwhile, my characters are linking arms at the far end of the field, storming toward me with scowls on their faces. Drive the writer back to her desk, her real desk, and away from cobwebby poems and half-phrases and thoughts that could have been profound... but weren't, after all.)

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