– all a-blather

Keeping a pen by the side of the bed used to be the way of capturing the thoughts of newly awakening before they ran away into the bubble-soaped blather of everyday morning.

Maybe that is where I should keep the laptop. I would probably get even less sleep. People often think these waking thoughts and words are given more weight than they should rightly be awarded, but not if you catch them, not if you’re able to lasso the clouds. It’s how Richard’s wrote ‘Satisfaction’ after all.

Of late, I keep waking up to  elucidate the moment, but I don’t have the notebook. By the time I wander here after having first taken a piss and noticing that my piss is way too yellow, or deeper in colour than it should be, and I really should be drinking more water, the thoughts, or the perfect syntax, at least, have  gone.

But, this awakening has been something to do with golden dogs lately. Scruffy pirate dogs. Plucky and tough and shoeless and courageous, and dusty and tan little colours of sand. Just what, I don’t know. They’ve got good senses of humour though. Actually, my dream characters are getting slightly rambunctious. But at least they’re having fun.

I’ve got a new page down there. The not so pretty page for not such pretty things. I should shift some more of the not so pretty poems there. Pages are permanent and do not operate as posts (policeman pete proclaimed). So, anything I write or place there will not appear as a post. It’s not that the Kurt genes are overtaking and mutating and consuming the Dalai Lama ones, it’s just that the Kurt ones sometimes exist. As I wrote to a friend recently, maybe Stevie Smith was actually drowning when she wrote Not Drowning, but Waving:

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

Maybe Adrienne Rich  had to go through the wreckage to Dive into the Wreck:

First having read the book of myths,
and loaded the camera,
and checked the edge of the knife-blade,
I put on
the body-armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers

the grave and awkward mask.
I am having to do this
not like Cousteau with his
assiduous team
abroad the sun-flooded schooner
but here alone.
There is a ladder
The ladder is always there
hanging innocently
close to the side of the schooner.
We know what it is for,
we who have used it.
it’s a piece of maritime floss
some sundry equipment.

I go down.
Rung after rung and still
the oxygen immerses me
the blue light
the clear atoms
of our human air.
I go down.
My flippers cripple me,
I crawl like an insect down the ladder
and there is no one
to tell me when the ocean
will begin.

First the air is blue and then
it is bluer and then green and then
black I am blacking out and yet
my mask is powerful
it pumps my blood with power
the sea is another story
the sea is not a question of power
I have to learn alone
to turn my body without force
in the deep element.

And now: it is easy to forget
what I came for
among so many who have always
lived here
swaying their crenellated fans
between the reefs
and besides
you breathe differently down here.

I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.
I stroke the beam of my lamp
slowly along the flank
of something more permanent
than fish or week

the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth
the drowned face always staring
toward the sun
the evidence of damage
worn by salt and sway into this threadbare beauty
the ribs of the disaster
curving their assertion
among the tentative haunters.

This is the place.
and I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body
We circle silently
about the wreck
we dive into the hold.
I am she: I am he
whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes
whose breasts still bear the stress
whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies
Obscurely inside barrels
half-wedged and left to rot
we are the half-destroyed instruments
that once held to a course
the water-eaten log
the fouled compass

We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to the scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
in which
our names do not appear.

But I love those poems (or loved Stevie Smith when I was 14. I don’t know about now) and I think we need them to contrast, or to appreciate, the moments in life that are a bit lighter. I know that a lot of poets are not the sanest of people, but not all of them, and don’t worry, I’m not about to offer myself up to a tanning salon just yet.

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