When I was younger I never took the time to change, to edit, redact, reenact, redo, over screw, renew a poem. They usually came in a flash, done as fast as I could type them. Shoot, that is how I increased my typing speed. But that is another story. This poem is one that, as an old man, led the way to having a wild and wonderful time returning to the products of an impulsive, hyperactive, attention deficit life, tinkering with, letting the lightning reflash, as it were, as it is, as it will be. I came to see that some models were too soon totalled, or taken on the road before they were ready to ride. I never felt the need to recall. I put a lot of responsibility on the reader. If I lived with insufficiency the reader is welcomed to read with an eye and ear to stopping and saying to self, “if I had written this I would have done this or that,” and then doing it. Hecky darn, if they were going to continue with paper instead of continuing to move into the digital age, I would want every other page to be blank so I could amplify, ramify, or recreate it and if I knew the writer I would want to discuss it.
But things change. We are in a digital world, now. So much so that reading is being forsaken for the hyperinflationary idea that a picture is worth a thousand words. People who say that should vote for Romney. They either don’t know anything about images or don’t know anything about words, or both. I surmise, though I am not a prophet nor the wisest futurist, that the blessings of digital capability will not be worth the illiteracy the blessing cost.
But, then, hey, you are reading a guy who loves getting lost in words. I have always been more interested in tone than hue. I still consider myself strong and viable when I can turn off the visual and go to the textual, even though that textual is on a Kindle. warmer.
This poem, Being Born a poet, is what I came to call a stock pot poem. That is why it never feels fully dressed until it has the word ‘version’ or ‘revision’ or ‘model’ figleafing its … elbows. And I love it more every time I revise and reread it.
I hope you like it. If you do or don’t, tell me about it. I may be the only person at the moment who cares what you are thinking.
You will probably like the mp3 audio version better as read by me, the author, because one, I sound good and two, poetry should be read aloud for maximum profit.
A final word to anybody left who might be thinking about writing. I run into people like you. If you are thinking about it, you should do it. The fact you think about it indicates you may be professionally or artistically misplaced. If you do start writing here is the best tip I can give you. With a nod and a calloused finger to the rules of the road, if you don’t write the way you want to, if you don’t follow your bliss, as Joseph Campbell said, then you might as well just print off anybody’s crap and slap your name on it and brag to everyone that you are a writer.
In a book by former US poet laureate Robert Pinsky he starts with saying, “There are no rules.” The initial reaction is “whoopee.” The next reaction is a realization that your responsibility just increased a thousand fold.
So, look for the poem, “Being Born a Poet” — if you are on my blog it should be next to this intro.
“It ain’t so much the things we don’t know that get us into trouble. It’s the things we DO know that just ain’t so.” — Artemus Ward