8:08 p.m. - March 13, 2005
Friday I spent the day with high schoolers writing and talking poetry. Oh, how I miss teaching, focusing on the here and now of 30-plus personalities, engaging in a craft, a million universes collapsing and expanding each second. 90 minute periods allowed for a pretense of depth, a question-answer-ask-the-author and writer's workshop with kids prepped with questions and receptive to poesis.
One first-period boy understands I, II, and III. First thought: It happened to you, too? but second thought: I'm a hack writer so let us not presume mysetery and abstruse subtexts when none exists. But those three are joined with two love poems, forever stuck in an anthology, my pages hideously titled, a contemporary counterpoint to Blake. Blake? How awful, as if someone says here are examples of didactic metaphor, some from the 1700s and here are a few by a guy still using the techniques a few hundred years later: Doesn't he know metaphor in contemporary American poetry is passe?
I was never a poet, a writer - I just tried to make sense of things the only way I could, but I've ceased that activity for a while. Do you think that need and its manifestation can be rejuvenated, or do wells really dry up? I've disappointed so many people - so many being a gross exaggeration! - the moral of the half-told story is don't have expectations and don't tell others you have them for the person in question. I'm sorry I didn't become a famous poet, I'm sorry I didn't become a distinguished researcher, I'm sorry I'm mediocre in my mediocrity, but I'm more sorry I believed people when they said I would do great things. I shine in my nothingness, possessing safety in this rut I call home. But you know what I miss most about writing, really writing, the kind I don't do much anymore? It's the wrestling with those emotions, with finding the write/right word, an alignment of this flock of images that push and pull me, kept me in motion. I wonder if all that was a necessary stage I had to experience, a pre-requisite to thinking about the molestation, the homosexuality, the everything, in its due course. But if that's true, why am I exhausted now with nothing to show? It's like I trudged through a self-contained snowstorm, found my refuge and see it still snows here, just not as blinding. I want that struggle of focusing on the now where I'm consumed and have no time or inclination to think of anything else but the immediate task in front of my feet.
I pray often that I'll die naturally, quickly, soon, and then I turn around and hope I don't, because I still cling to some idea that things don't have to be this way. I don't believe that idea, scoff to obstruct discomfort, but there's something about wanting to die that makes you think about not just the bad but the good, too, and it's this constant interplay that keeps the wheel turning from Do It to Don't. The bottom line is I've always felt like a throw away-nothing and it hurts too much to throw myself away too, evoking some spirit of resistance. I'm a little stubborn that way but I don't know what this means.