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bohemian dreams, sans insanity, s’il vous plaît.

December 19, 2007


I want to invent a poetic form (actually, I have to…for my seminar Poetics by Praxis class).  I want it to be as beautifully proportioned, clean and clear as a winter tree on a very blue-sky cold day.  I tried formulating a form based on the Fibonacci sequence (a mathematic pattern said to be present in the various proportions of the human body, botanical formations, animals, the golden rectangle, ancient and sacred buildings, etc.  It starts 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13…and proceeds, each number being the sum of the two prior numbers.); so far all that has yielded me is a bunch of scratched out poems with too little stresses, no room for substituted feet, and off-kilter appearances.  I want to perform a sacred counting…the kind that yielded Japanese masters the Haiku and Tanka forms.  Then I read Sufist verse, especially that of Rumi, and find no necessary rhyme or meter: 

Out beyond ideas
of wrongdoing
and rightdoing,
there is a field.
I will meet you there.

Then, I started re-reading Levertov’s ideas about “inscape” and the way in which poetry is formed organically from within, in meditation, lightening flashes of inspiration, and ultimately the polishing and refining of what is, in essence, an uncovered relic of words.  I don’t disagree with Levertov; and, when poetry strikes me that way, I am reborn by its fire, refreshed, renewed, alive and energized with what passes through me.  Almost as if I take the role of medium.  But it doesn’t always come that way.  Sometimes I hear a story, see a description, learn a piece of a piece of a fact about nature, and it screams “poem, poem, poem!!!”  But, let me reiterate, that’s not always the case, but one day I will write a poem with the metaphor of highway dividers– the kind with stocky green-painted cement logs set up like truncated trees, close together, to shield drivers from the lights of oncoming traffic.  

This struggle actually stems from another: I have been suffering with my mental health as of late.  I withdrew from several classes with incomplete grades.  I.e. there is a check-sheet tacked to my fridge that reads: Research paper, research paper, exam, paper, exam, portfolio….due: April  ne, January (I want my freaking life back).   

So, I’m working my part-time job, and choking down the nausea in favor of courage, slowly crossing off to-do things.  I don’t work well without regimen, schedule, form: preferably, that of a tree and not of a river.  Plus, I have to finish it, if I have a prayer of graduating “on time.”  You’re talking to a card-carrying Dean’s-list-making, over-achieving, perfectionistic and self destructive young American woman.  We are a breed; equal parts ball-busting, glass-ceiling destroying super-heroines and cooking, knitting, mothers-in-waiting, with every intention of carrying out artistic creative lives.  We want it all. 

I’ve been reflecting a lot on my college career to this point.  Fascinating, really: I came five solid driving hours north to my second-choice school, finding a hiatus of liberal arts immersion, the phenomena of four full-blown seasons (i grew up with conifers: read, no changing leaves, no snow).  Leaving my roots, I rebelled, I got lost, I got hurt, I got up again, dusted it off, fell in love a few times, found friends, colleagues, mentors…  Then, I studied in London: the city herself enraptured me, the school system was so incredibly disenchanting and impersonal that I stopped caring about the classes and papers, and my solitude and isolation ran deep, far from home, family, love.  I am nostalgic for my wash-basin, though.  And my fake British accent.  And city-Out beyond ideaslife.(   

But, I remember writing down a list of my newly tangible dreams and bohemian ideals early freshman year, when I discovered Joni Mitchell, rediscovered Annie Dillard, Gustav Klimt, Cat Stevens, Paul Simon, and others…  I wanted: a city loft apartment, and a cat, and room to write, paint, draw, sew, and someone to love me wholly, and a big bed…and a view of lights and cheap wine, friends who roll their own cigarettes and read too much.  I thought that these things would come to me at the age of 25 or so…but, I’m looking around and realizing I’ve found a lot of them already.  Apartment (check, and blasphemy, I share it with my loving, kind, gifted, gentle boyfriend), cat (check…two, actually.  but only the girl is really mine.)  Creative environment (check: cameras, sewing machine, easel, paint, pencils, fabric, buttons, pastels, canvas, paper, pen, midnight oil and paper, and bookshelves crammed; plus, Mark’s guitars, bass, mixing board, keyboard, electric piano, chroma-harp, record-player, thumb piano, and maracas.  I’ve lived in the city, so I know I can do it.  I have artsy friends: writers, painters, historians, musicians…and even a couple who roll their own cigarettes, and have walls as brightly painted as ours (lime green kitchen, oh yeah.)  So, it seems, I’ve made it.  So…sigh…one day at a time.  Live it one day at a time.  The struggle is to be present, to love and accept myself, to breathe in pain and give away pleasure, to be open and flowing with the life energy of the unknown…  This form will have to be the poem.  The river form.   

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Garrett Macfalda permalink
    January 24, 2009 5:56 pm

    Beautiful post, and I hope to find some poetry of yours on this website. This is my first visit, so if it’s painfully obvious to find, forgive me.

    I’ve been looking at poetic forms myself recently, and was thinking of developing one (or finding one) based on drone notes in music. I’m very interested to see what you come up with.

    Garrett Macfalda,

  2. Erin permalink
    May 2, 2010 4:41 am

    “Out beyond ideas
    of wrongdoing
    and rightdoing,
    there is a field.
    I will meet you there.
    (Rumi) ”

    I never realized that bit spoke to you, too.

    Going through some stuff. But just wanted to say that.

    • greeneyedmuse permalink*
      May 16, 2010 3:02 am

      “This too shall pass.”

      E, let me know if I can help you in any way.

      • Erin permalink
        May 16, 2010 5:25 am

        oh m’dear, “help” is not in the ways of our friendship. A message is coming to you in the passing, however. You will know what’s up–good, bad, and in-between. Your blog’s anniversary, however, is not without my notice, and appreciation. Your blog has been an inspiration, through the ups and downs. Sorry to be so cryptic, but I’m still working out that “stuff”. 🙂

        Does a smiley temper the cryptic nature of my post? it will have to for now.

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