So day 10 is a little weird because I’m supposed to write in the style of someone I don’t know. Which in itself isn’t strange. But I have an awkward sticky feeling in my chest and I wish I knew why. There are two people who have offered up this writing challenge thing I’ve been doing lately. And on this, the 10th day (I think I’m like a week behind everyone else, I really don’t care) The prompt is to write a poem in the style of one of the people who has created this syllabus. “Write an entire poem the way I (Tyler) write them in which you are not allowed to edit a single line once it’s down.”
The funny thing about this is that for years, I held to the discipline that if Jack Kerouac never edited his work, I wouldn’t either. I was so in love with his rambling shambling free flow prose style and I think tried to emulate it a lot. So I spent years never editing, ever. EVER. For me, stepping outside the comfort zone would be going back and tweaking something I’ve written. Because I always wanted it to have a sense of effortless inspiration.
Strangely enough, when I allowed someone to read some of my stuff when I was 18, at the height of my Kerouac-emulation years, he insisted that I was riffing way too much of Henry Miller’s voice in my words. I never read anything by Henry Miller until my early 30s. When I finally did, it freaked me out how much he sounded like me. That guy.
But speaking of guys, I don’t know the guy who writes the poems that he never edits, Tyler. And for some reason I feel slightly rebellious towards his desire that I write like him. But, given that the spirit of the exercise is to do stuff even though it’s slightly uncomfortable, I wrote a poem that I didn’t edit. The way I would. But it sure does feel like the Henry Miller conundrum all over again. How can I be writing a poem in the style of Tyler, when it seems like Tyler’s style is mine. The temptation to internet search him and find out if he is younger than me involves such a feeling of petty “HA! YOU NEED TO REWORD YOUR DAMN SYLLABUS YOUNGSTER! NYAH!” that I’ll just stop there because..seriously, why do my issues always involve such screechy melodrama?
Anyway, here’s a poem. I wasn’t totally inspired because I obviously have hangups about (what?) something…and have some resistance, but I did it because that’s the fucking point. Scared? Do it anyway. Do it like Jack Kerouac, Henry Miller, Tyler, whoever. It doesn’t matter whose style it is, it’s my damn voice and my damn words. Damnit. Though, now that I read it, I think I actually wrote four poems. Or one very disjointed and mildly distracted one. Though I really like the bit about the trickster gods. That feels as close to an autobiography as I’ve ever written.
I am alive with creativity.
I feel it flowing through me like liquid,
a mercurial intention
with constant emphasis
on surface tension.
It wants to inhabit the places it hasn’t been yet
Like a child drawing pictures with a puddle,
I create streams,
opening new synaptic pathways.
I break the boundaries
and let it flow free.
I’ve always found a kinship
With trickster gods
Their love of a good guffaw
Or a belly laugh
Belies what might seem like
There are veils upon veils, my dear
They would whisper
in my ever attentive ear
And who is to say the thing that is uncovered
Is any truer
Than the thing that hides.
I don’t doubt their whimsy
I don’t fault their lies
I can’t help but admire
How the stars shine brighter
From their trickster god eyes.
They taught the cheshire cat to smile
They taught the hatter to pour tea
They’ll serve you files inside of chocolate cake
And help to set you free.
The pathways weave through a forest dark with splendor
There is treasure buried under every single tree
There are dances with names no one can remember
There is so much happening that I will never see
I don’t feel any heartbreak about this
On the contrary
It enlivens me to know that there was a before
There will be an after to come
And this song
will be intrinsically interwoven in.
For dinner I made myself a bowl full of yellow and green.
With a little bit of white thrown in, for contrast.
Since white has all the colours, it contains all the contrasts too
I wondered how it would make me feel to only consume one colour at a time.
The idea made me nervous
So I expanded it to two.
Would monochromatic meals create monophilistic tendencies?
Would these dinner for one excursions
grow dimmer in their expansions
Have I become too accustomed to soligistic thinking?
Have I become complacent in my company?
I have no expectations of myself
and sometimes I’m not sure that’s a good idea.