Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

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A few casual words about poetry made real, and yet what was real was not literally poetry, and yet..

"Turn off your mind, relax and float down stream,
It is not dying, it is not dying

Lay down all thoughts, surrender to the void,
It is shining, it is shining.

Yet you may see the meaning of within
It is being, it is being"--old Beatles song

"Poetry, where it exists at all, exists not by affirming but by actually experiencing, however slightly, the ultimate homogeneity of world and mind."--Owen Barfield

That guy Plato kept talking about stuff like how some stuff was real, and some stuff was forms, and what looked real was not real but form or vice versa, or something, but I only read in translation and anthology, and everything he says is all a pretty formless void to me. It's not him, it's me.

Yesterday I had a moment of flashing insight. Now some people encounter flashing insight, and they start trying to stalk Buddha on the road, or they get themselves pay-for-space television shows, and then give sermons on how god has gone missing from our public schools without a hall pass.

But my flashes of insight are usually less sweeping in their effect. It was not a big deal. It was a little deal. But it was the sort of little deal in which the cartoon light bulb suddenly came on. It was the sort of "hey, that's what this all means" kind of thing, except, unlike the old satiric novel, the insight did not involve life, the universe or really much of anything.

It was a "grab the calculator" moment. My late algebra II teacher would be amazed that I even have such moments, as she despaired of me because I did not grasp that solving equations to plot a figure of a cat and a barn on graph paper was actually a literal assignment, and not some mutual joke she and I were sharing. I was sentenced to penal servitude in the form of 6 hours of study a day in penance for this omission in my moral fiber.

But it was indeed a "grab the calculator" moment. Not, mind you, my amortizing calculator, with which I amaze friend and family by calculating the future value of widgets in a supermarket located in a wormhole (or, really, just figure out how much a house payment would be on given assumptions). I'm talking the four functions and square root three dollar dollar store job.

Suddenly, I saw an answer (I will pass on the elaboration, mostly because it's a secret, and partly because nobody but me really wants to know), and I was able to see the Heavens open and I had the meaning of life and it was numerical, just like in the science fiction satiric book.

Imagine sitting in a conference room in a hip but muggy town,
succumbing to the croissants and even to the cookies, though on paper you're down as being careful about such things, when suddenly a bell in your head rings just like in the Todd Rundgren song when "all the children sing" and the "universe explodes apart".

I know I have written that it's all about the flow. I think that's a huge, poetic license expression I employ to cover a multitude of sins. But I think a lot lately about flow and about life as poetry.

I read and love and get amused by and despise that old topic: "What is poetry?". I propose, notwithstanding raising that question, not to answer it in this journal today.
There is always tomorrow, another day, and I'll always have Tara. There may be no time like the present, but isn't that a non-sequitur anyway. It's like "if not us, who?", "if not now, when?", when in fact the whole country is wearing feathered hair and dancing to cheap synth music.

But I love the way that a day can be sheer poetry in the colloquial sense, the sense in which no MFA is awarded and no slams vote no poets. It's the poetry of watching Anatoly Karpov play the white side of the Tarrasch French. It's the poetry of sheer spiritual motion through life. It's the poetry
of the heart and soul and anything but the page.

Some people call that poetry salvation. Some call it grace.
Some call it transcendence. A few call it a form of mental science. I am not so good with labels. I call it whatever I wish to call it, and then I call it something else.

Yet it's not deniable that sometimes a face appears upon the water, and the night lifts, and it's the first day.

It's also fun when the first day keeps repeating in its glory over and over, kinda like the movie "Groundhog Day", except that the characters thrive on, rather than learn from, repetition of the flow.

I was exhausted when I left work yesterday, but I had had a "pull out the calculator and derive the One Real Answer" moment. I love those moments. I saw the nebula, and the horse's head was illuminated, and neighing.

The poetry continued, though. Before I had to leave the fair city I was visiting, I got to meet for the first time the charming nacowafer and her equally charming husband. What delightful people they are! The poetry of work blended into the poetry of leisure and wondrous conversation, the chat-with-friends kind, and the day was between work and play wholly workable and useful and a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

I stood under the canopy of a luxury hotel, trying to catch an afternoon cab back to the modest but nice suites hotel I had pricelined up, and I watched the rain fall, and umbrellas open and it was like the Mary Tyler Moore theme, except I did not have a somewhat girly hat on and I could not chuck the non-existent but very girly hat I did not have up into a Minnesota sky, what with my being in Washington DC on a humid/rainy Summer day and all. But my cab propelled me to my room, where I changed out of my rather cool looking business suit with the dinosaur tie into my casual clothes, a MarsTokyo shirt and blue khakis (do khakis cease to be khakis when they are not khaki?).

I answered work e mails, and then I headed off to parts unknown, crowded basement sandwich places where smoking is permitted (I have never smoked), chosen solely for proximity due to rain, and a hotel bar where I sipped "mint tea" that tasted Heavenly but suspciously like non-mint tea, and yet it was all flow, pure poetry, pure flow.

I thought to myself how so much of this week has been a resumption of the poetry of living, and I wondered if the living seems richer because recently I have come to appreciate how vital each second can be, and how much it all matters to just *breathe* and *live*. I must disagree with that stern epistolarian--we eat and drink and be merry not because "tomorrow we die", but so that we live today. It's not so bad to be merry, it's just important to be truly merry, as forced merriment seems to me to be a form of self-medication.

Sometimes I wish that the flow never stops, but actually, the flow must have cessations or it would become a kind of solid.
But I know I love to see solutions appear in mid-air in my mind, and to reach out to people, and find out they're really there. This was a high stress week, but a good one. I'll work this weekend, as a lawyer of all things, but I will try to work hard, happy and well.
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