Friday, June 10, 2011

My Poetry Year: Entry #38

In which Your Humble Blogger shares the poem she wrote to try to snap herself out of a funk:

"On Patterns That Repeat"

A leaf laughed as it caught up
To its friends at the far end
Of the sidewalk. Otherwise,
The night was quiet. Before
The leaf, the couple next door
Had turned off their golden lamps.
And I'd pondered opening
The veins that cross my forearm,
Almost as casually
As I've debated a snack.

I'm wrong. There was another
Sound to be heard that long night.

It was the high song of crickets
Seeking each other across
The retention pond hollows.

* * *

I've been dancing around the idea of posting this poem for the last couple of days (the last poem I posted was actually written after this one), and I even talked to Wes to get his opinion on posting something like this. Really, what do you do with the things you produce when you're in a self-pitying kind of way?

The reason I can post this, I suppose, is that I accept what purpose it served: It was the written equivalent of an eye roll at myself, an attempt to say, "Come on, you can get over it" a little more artfully. I don't know if it succeeds for anyone else reading it beyond me -- I don't know if anyone else chuckles at the last passage -- but it got me, if not outside of my own head, at least to a point where I could try to shape and work with what was there. And it's written in syllables again!

I don't think it was much of a secret to anyone near me at the time that I was in lousy shape during the warehouse trip. My poor editor -- I think even he noticed that I was falling apart, because he kept giving me little tasks every now and then that weren't so taxing, which was helpful, embarrassed as I was about it. During the trip, though, I looked forward to the return home assuming that I would be able to fall back into my normal routine of reading and writing with no problem.

When that didn't happen, when, after initial success, too many nights passed on which I couldn't muster a drive to work on anything or even a thought to work with, that's when the crappy feeling hit hard.

I think a lot more of us get slugged with that severe self-loathing than even all of the PSAs out there would have us believe, and I suspect it's worse among people pursuing art, because when you start to worry that your art has abandoned you -- sucks like nothing else, doesn't it? But art is a great double-edged sword: Even when its absence from your life has you feeling totally hollow, the desire for it, if you can remain focused just on what you want and keep out the fact that you don't have it quite yet, can push you past an emptiness. What I like about this poem, I guess, isn't that it's particularly good but that it reminded me that I still wanted to write. Bless art for all it can do for us.

Music has that power for a lot of people, I've noticed. My favorite song for getting out of a funk? "Caught by the River" by Doves. (I'd love to link it here, but I don't want to step on anyone's toes with copyright issues.) What's yours?

(Stupid, silly fact: Another idea that soothed me a little bit during the warehouse trip was the possibility of shaving my head. Hey, when I realized that I at least have some control over something even as small as my personal appearance, it did a lot for me. :D)


  1. Whoa -- you almost pulled a Britney Spears?? (I never thought I'd compose *that* sentence to you of all people ;) .)

    If I could shave my head without looking like an egg, I'd totally do it. I think you could get away with it. Just sayin'. Although if you ever do it, I hope it will be from a better place! You're so right about the emotional push and pull of being an artist (she says peripherally) -- I've seen a lot of people go through that, and it seems exhausting. But the creative result can make it all worth it.

  2. Bwahaha... oh, Britney....

    An egg? Nah, I don't think so. No more than any other human being, I think -- we're all pretty ovular up there. I suspect that attitude and outlook have more to do with making something like the Curly cut work, so in that sense, I can't think of another female friend who could pull off the shaved head better.

    (I had a thought regarding the "push and pull" of the artistic life, but I lost the words to phrase it best -- hah, seems appropriate.)

  3. Oh hon my attitude and outlook in that arena are not so hot -- I sure could do a Curly impression. Nyuk nyuk nyuk. (I think being petite is a total prerequisite.)

    I am now marveling at what kind of damage we could do / fun we could have running our own fashion mag. *Snort snort snicker*

  4. Heh heh heh... have you seen the covers to Dave Sim's comic "glamourpuss"? They look like the covers to fashion mags, but the model on the cover always has her eyes crossed and her tongue sticking out. I think I have a basic idea of where our path could run....