Friday, December 29, 2006

Strange things are not coming out of my head

The fact that I have not begun to sport antennae or horns is a good thing, I guess, and I'm not wanting to become some space alien from the Sci-Fi channel. But I'm thinking about the strange ideas. Not shock-value oddities—weird for weird's sake—but the sudden serendipitous juxtaposition of images that can take you down a different path.

I haven't really considered this consciously before. I've thought about how to get into the zone, how to get onto a writing roll, but not about how to evoke, how to become receptive to, the completely unexpected.

And every once in a while, a poem seems to come out of nowhere—different images, different voice (who wrote that?). It happened with the jackals and with the salt mine poem. But when I say "a while," I mean a long while. And how do you sustain it. (If you get one, do you need more? Do you need a little body of work that can work as a whole?)

So I'll be spending my New Year's weekend trying to find any strange things that can come out of my head, trying to open all the doors and windows, find the locks and whatever keys might fit.

In the meantime, I'll include those two strange poems from before.

From the Earth’s Own Rooms

          Wieliczka, Poland

The salt of sweat,
the sweat of love,
the love of God
that brings our knees down
in white caverns ghost-lit

with the lives of men,
the color of moon
without a sky,
sucking kisses
from our lips,

kissing tears
from our bones,
and we mine it like gold,
carve in it arches
and steps, altars buried deep.
Close to the fires of darkness,

the salt is holy
in water, is holy
in the ground,
is running through our veins,
towering in this,
our image of heaven.

"From the Earth's Own Rooms" previously appeared in Crab Creek Review.

When Lying Dogs Did Not Sleep

Jackals roamed the streets
and snarled their snarls at the pallid moon.
We sewed lace curtains into oven mitts
and scuffed our socks along the floor.

We peered from under blankets.
We thought about throwing rocks
or jars of mayonnaise,
waited for any kind of news.

No one wanted to step out,
slanting into wind and teeth.
We ate the cookies, made more,
made a liberal dent in the wines.

The paint chipped and peeled.
Tea roses turned black in their beds.
It rained, and we heard the seething
songs, gravel or cast iron.

We kept the cats inside with us,
knew when we ran out of flour
or the telephone went dead,
we’d make our move.

"When Lying Dogs Did Not Sleep" previously appeared in Cranky.

No comments: