One can usually find a large stump
to sit on somewhere in Arkansas.
You can smoke a brainy cigarette
or gnaw a thoughtful bitter weed.
Here, there is time for thinking stuff.
A poet wants to do things with words.
Sometimes just to watch what happens,
like finger painting on the mind's canvas.
Lines can be psychotic jesters jumping
and surprising themselves with illusions
of symbolic frisson and important saying.
Sometimes, a few startling dizzy zingers
and broken-up lines can conjure a simulcra
of poetry from what is actually a blathering
I've got nothing better to do these days.
I'll keep trying to make stuff from words.
But...what the hell am I going to write about?
This big joint -- from sea to shining sea -- is banal.
I would tremble and my brain would begin to dissolve
if all I could write about are people who don't know
about regions of great heresy, mountains of ennui.
Who gives a boring damn about American narcissists,
jazzy addicts, empty-hatted cowboys, loud dames
without a background in aesthetics or theodicy?
So...I usually have to go to somewhere else.
To find something on which to hang a poem.
I usually have to drift like smoke to Europe,
or a Europe of my fond, desperate imagining.
Over there somewhere, the trees know things
and the building stones have old stories to tell.
Culture of a certain sort springboards the mind
to think of sad men and of profound women.
I must hope to write a poem that touches fire,
that at least brushes against some far vision,
a theme of saying that is out of the ordinary,
a poem that Olga and Sofiya would appreciate.
I must hope that one day I can write a poem --
just one poem -- that does justice to language,
that taps into root-magic below barking surface,
that has words tracing faint rings of this world --
rings expanding like vibrations beyond mere ego.
A poem that might flame from the embers of Puskin,
that might burn from a kindling of pine stump pitch
deep in some Slavic realm beyond any banality.