Calculus Chrysalis --

Anatomy of a Metamere

Poetry was the outlet, the conduit, and the medium through which years of silence went flowing, and ended the stalemate.  There wasn't necessarily any big dramatic climax, or swelling musical score, but at once, the words came spilling out of the void and into the world, and the present was born.  It took a while to make the words make things, other than just more words (and that really is the challenge, isn't it, because words beget themselves until they are placed just so, before they reach out and compress the soul into a happy little cube and make non sense work).  It was a simple enough day, filled with sand and trees, like so many on either side of it, but there was the desire, moreover, the need to create.  I don't know where it came from, muses hiding behind the pines or mind-control rays, I suspect it just reached out and grabbed a hold like any excess come to take the subject away into a private oblivion of one sort or another, but there it was, an empty piece of paper, an ink pen, and the rest of my life spread out before me, like a star chart showing the way to get home to anyone from Sirius-B or M-51.  It may not have been very good that day, in fact, I remember, it was horrible, but that's just not the point, the point being that the journey had started and I was lost and found forever.  


 And time passed, as it tends to do, and words became more comfortable, more gentle, more useful, and they started to flow right from out of my liver or pancreas, or wherever it is that words come from.  I had started trying to write about something again, which I had given up once already.  Subjects were too constraining, when I began, because it all became linear, like so much trigonometry as the muse choked on soup bones and left me to myself.  I would start by writing down words on a piece of paper, whichever ones I wanted to come and so after a time I could stop and read them three or four times and thus discover what it was I had just written about.  It took many weeks and many papers, but soon enough, I got to be able to know what I was writing about and start to direct it towards an end, and that was the point at which I decided that it was worth trying to write about what I wanted rather than what the words wanted.  


 It was liberating, and somehow, rather than just creating for the sake of the process, as so many poor tired painters sketching bowls of fruit, I could create something, pieces of me, nothing so scary as a nose or a toe, but something just as real and wonderful.  I was hooked I admit it, just as desperate as a sagging strained junkie, searching for words, reading Whitman, Williams, Ginsberg, my own room an opium den of endless depravity as I smoked up sonnets, and shot Shakespeare, snorted George Gordon, Shelley, and Keats, the Beats drove me to drink, and then I'd take Blake and I was left laying, when my fix came in, with shaky hands and beautiful dreams.    


 Poetry is insidious.  It invades your life and slips through the cracks in consciousness and makes liars of us all.  It wasn't long before prose became obsolete, just another way of hiding from what was really bubbling within my mouth and mind, trying to find lives to attach to.  The mere act of conversation became a form of hiding, as the usual, “Hi, it's nice to see you,” was merely the poor substitute for the true words that longed for wings, which were always something like, “The sun caresses and kisses your lovely soft face, and I become jealous, wishing to be in its place.”  But our world isn't a poetic enough place that one can say such things, and so we speak fecal and not fecund matters, our thoughts left hanging, torn up in tatters, and nothing you say is really what you meant.  


 Somehow, now, I was left to my own design, to find a path through the wide wild world.  Surely it was strange, fate maybe, but before long I was directed, and it wasn't back home or onto the page, but beyond all that into the dangerous world of numbers.  I found myself sitting, lost, in a haze of phasors, electron clouds hanging around my head and fascinated, transfixed I would keep searching for more.  


 And for so many this world seems so antipoetical, so cold and concrete, a veritable parking lot of creativity, but it was in the joy of the ideas, in the fantasy of the dreams of mad mathematicians that I found my own creative spark within the words of Newton and Descartes, with Maxwell and his waves, his beautiful paradoxes, Euler and his complex relations and I longed to crawl inside my circuits to join the electrons whizzing through the wires and find joy in the transitions in a diode, to feel transistors trapping my tongue for speech as the current and fields carried me along helpless, driven in this fatalistic world.  And it was then that I started to see and hear the true poetry of these fellows, the divine inspiration of Copernicus, the drive of Gallileo, and the pursuit for truth that haunted and carried along these few to what came beyond, a glimpse of God in his native habitat, where something was two things all at once, and forces determined all, a vectored world of faith and love.  And by the time Einstein reversed the time, I was flying, trying to hold on, but I felt the same rush, the same great strain as when Eliot says “This is the way the world ends,” and Hawking says, “This is the way the world begins.”  


 Is it for me?  I can see the poetry of my life spilling onto the carpet, like stale beer from green glass bottles, and finding the canonically-conjugate truths to be nothing more than different sides of the same coin or, as Stoppard would say, the same side of two different coins.  And I've walked the lines between and done my best to break down the infinite potential barriers so many have warned me against, or at least tried to tunnel through, and have crossed so many lines that lately I wonder which realm will find me the impostor first.  Is it a mutually exclusive choice I face, or is there the middle pillar upon which I can climb and so like a colossus straddle the two shores, between which stands the harbor which holds the bones of those fallen into the depths?  It is a daunting task, and I am daunted, as anyone attempting to live in the shadow of a hundred foot tall brass dude would be, but it's worth the attempt.  “Constantly Risking Absurdity,” Ferlinghetti suggests, and the tightrope awaits, but what better way to get across is there than balance, “Balance,” says I, and an occasional fall into the net to remember mortality.  


 Can I be immortal?  I wonder sometimes, late at night when the world is dark and I feel capable of anything, but then the light comes streaking through my window and my eyes try to adjust, fumble around for their footing, as my head pounds and slumber comes to claim me.  I realize all at once that I'm no Jove, just one more disposable hero of classical theatre, with hubris swelling, called upon to act the role of plaything for Olympus.  


 But still I climb, and I've straddled ladders reaching to the heights of the big top.   I've dared to please, with the greatest of ease, to defy death with the best, which is worse, I confess, I still preclude to delude myself, that maybe this time, I couldn't fall, but instead, if I just hopped off and spread out my arms I'd glide to the floor, prepared for encore.  


 God, that all sounds awful and makes me feel filthy, like I've just admitted things that should be left on a shelf in the back of the closet, or under the bed, but I guess what I'd like to say, is that impossible always seemed like a word for things people didn't want to try, and maybe it does hurt to try but a little hurt I can handle better than a lifetime of “what if,” and dear Christ before I start to sound like a greeting card I had better digress.  


 Words was where I started, and seems a fitting place to end, although I suppose its all words in the big picture.  Hamlet might say things about this, but I won't, because he's even more long-winded than I, and my time grows short.  The only thing left to say is this:  Three furry caterpillars sit on a tree branch.  The first turns to the other two and says, “Don't you ever wonder what it's all about?  Don't you worry about the answer to everything?”  The other two caterpillars look at each other and say, “You mean, they didn't tell you?” Then, they chuckle and squirm away, and for the rest of his life, the first is never really sure if they were joking or not.