March 18, 2011 § Leave a comment
In this episode of Things That Used To Mean A Lot To Me But Then I Forgot About Them And Recently Rediscovered Them And Have Discovered That They Now Mean Something Different Than They Used To…(phew) (for previous episodes, see here.)
I present you all with a poem.
WHAT I SAID TO MYSELF
Choose the butterfly over the chrysalis.
Choose light, the ballroom, the well-lit restaurant.
You have for lifetimes strummed minor chords
on the coast of a dead sea. Think major, spindrift.
The sex between you and grief is becoming mechanical.
Despite your vestigial sentiments to the contrary,
a scab’s story is much greater than that of a scar.
Your cock is not an umbilical cord, it is your
heart’s mouthpiece. Choose sunrise, please.
It is time to do something that might cause
embarrassment. Let emptiness mother your child.
Put away the map, where we’re going won’t be on it.
There is nothing particularly inspiring about a death wish.
You have learned all there is to learn from the woman in black.
It is time to stop insulting ecstasy. Masochism
is an empty udder. What was is a cipher. Pick
the rose over the injured dove. Pick warm waters.
Attend a circus. Go for the comic. There is nothing
more mediocre than the association of dysfunction with genius.
Indulge in color. Believe me, there is not a problem.
Plumb bright places for new symbols.
Recommendation: study evergreens.
Find me. We have much to talk about.
I remember reading this poem and falling in love with it at like, sixteen. I loved the imperative statements, I loved the images. I loved, “Think major, spindrift”. I love the couplets, I love that it breaks the couplets. I love that it returns to the couplets in the end.
In high school this poem was telling me, Figure out your own style, yo. And go with it. It was telling me to read more poetry out loud but Don’t fall into the trap of writing poetry that only sounds good out loud. (I still don’t think I’ve fallen out of that trap yet.) (Speaking of which, gotta go cross something off my life list I wrote a new poem and I read it aloud at an open mic!) And actually, I came back to this poem again in college. I’ve got a funny way about these. I was reading a different poem today that was an instructable poem, it was all, “Be happy” and shit, and then I immediately set to google to find this poem, which I had forgotten about. (Google search went from, “recommendation: consider evergreens” until I remembered it was “study”. Booyah.) Anyway: found this poem again in college and sort of got it again. I got: “There is nothing more mediocre than the association of dysfunction with genius,” for the first time.
And then I found it today. And I’m all, sweet, put away the map because where we’re going we won’t need it. And the whole poem, really. I mean, it feels more adult, now. Pick yourself up by your bootstraps, kid. Love yourself, and all that. Quit looking down the well, you didn’t drop anything, and if you did, don’t worry about it. I love this poem. Love love love it.