Saturday, September 11, 2010

Circles & Curves & Edges

I've spent most of the last two days and nights feeling like something was going to happen.
Something like a poem, but not a poem, not to emerge as a poem.
Something wanting to emerge all day, all evening, that pressure in the chest.
Something like creativity's geometry. Better as not-words.
Last night I went out to dinner. Ate a good hot meal that I didn't have to prepare or clean up.
I had my journal along. I was writing in it while waiting for the food. And then I was drawing.
I found myself sitting alone in the restaurant feeling suddenly self-conscious about drawing.
I was suddenly aware of the families with noisy little children all around me.
I was drawing things they wouldn't understand. Or care to know about. I felt uncanny.

It's not a lonely feeling. It's not particularly that I care what others might think.
I followed the brush, as I always do, and what emerged was something archetypal, animal, shamanic.
Not the first time. All this "I" means nothing in this context of process.
I hate art that is nothing but "I". But I also hate poems that are nothing but language.
With no self present, with no Presence present, why bother? What's the point?
The antler staff on the wall of the boy's apartment I gifted it to finally after years of guarding it.
Not mine to use. Now finally gifted to where it was supposed to go. It comments on nothing.

When we walked into the mist of the falls, it was like nothing so much as continuous rain.
Thunder on basalt boulders, never ending. It was cool, and it had rained all day, and the day before.
All the winter rain had made all the waterfalls loud and resplendent, dangerous to touch.
When we walked into the mist, it was cold and drenching. I had to hide under my coat.

Somewhere in the verdant green of the falls-carved canyon there is a face in the rock wall.
A green man or a hunter god's face, tangled in the weeds, in the curve of branches.
An oracle of twigs laid upon the altar of a stone railing overlooking the stream.
Curving to point in the direction of the power under life.

Desert light. Dry branches curved on a platen on glaciated stone. An altar of limbs.
Dry as dust. Stunned under the spinning sun's hammer. Cold nights.
In the mornings canyon wren and hummingbird investigate the tent.
I sat naked in the early morning light, in the tent's open mouth, before hiking to the road.
I wore only boots that morning.

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Blogger Elisabeth said...

It may have taken its time in the coming, art,but I'd say it has arrived in this most exquisite post.

I especially resonate with these lines, Art: 'I hate art that is nothing but "I". But I also hate poems that are nothing but language.
With no self present, with no Presence present, why bother? What's the point?'

Everything that follows then is testimony to the lushness of your artistic process. The me it is like standing alongside those falls, drenched in your words.

Thanks, Art.

1:45 AM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Thanks in return. I was also thinking some more of Mark Weiss' description of his poetic process, which is like mine, that I wrote about a few posts back ("Poem & Process"). In a process like that, there isn't a lot of room for ego-display, because the process itself tends to reduce the impact of the ego-personality on the art; but neither is it purely language-oriented poetry. It might seem fragmented, but the fragments are from life, not from just the mind. Obviously this kind of poetry appeals to me, in part because it reflects the kind of poems I write myself, and the values I have about the whole business.

I'm still listening this morning for whatever it is.

10:30 AM  

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