Feeling frustrated with my latest writing attempts— the phrasing unravels on the page into heavy abstract, codified lines. At the core of the resulting poem I sense my main idea lies hidden, as a buried acorn shell wanting to crack open and reveal itself— a sprouting of a tree— yet, the idea remains too hidden, in other words, too obscure. Perhaps I read too much of Jean Valentine, G. C. Waldrep with John Gallagher— their post-post modernism have built a foundation of psychological impressions and expectations in my head, rather than tangible prayers, tangible chants—but even my analogy is failing tonight.
The issue at hand, I have a surreal fantasy concept to describe, yet, it is necessary to place the course of action in a realistic realm of thought in order to communicate an accurate depiction of the scene. What results: I keep recording random expressionistic ramblings which result in confusion, not objective interpretations. The latest material reads as automatic writing exercises and not as finalized, coherent thoughts— as if the pen were in control and not myself.
A Shaman lost in Translation as a She-Bear
She-Bear Under Cover of Night
She-Bear Dreaming of a Former Life as Shaman
So, the annoyance builds— overwhelmingly. I wanted this section completed before March, but at this rate the schedule radically turns on its head. Perhaps after a twelve to twenty-four hour break the points expressed in the verse will be articulated in a clearer fashion…
lumbering— she’s bundled in
heavy folds of night,
quilt heavy bulk of darkness—
stars sewn close to the landscape.
The night sky reveals
no dreamscapes any longer—
prophecies are stilled,
unstitched from the horizon—
oracle scrolls are silent.
Stumbling drunk shaman—
she’s wrapped in a quilt of guilt.
of past lives as a heavy
winter coat— surrounding close.
Swatches of colors
shift cross the hand-dyed cotton,
the rows of beadwork,
strung stones of her memories,
rosaries of discomfort—
It comes down to this: for my she-bear situation, there is no established connection. And therefore I need to do something about it. Which results in the frustration. The argument within my head with the Negative Critic who tells me I am not good enough. Odd. This is the second time in a short week’s time he has emerged into my conscious awareness.
One rule of thumb that I adhere to: if background visualization is needed, then the poem has failed. Sometimes confusion and surreal dream-logic are often employed in order to generate a mood in the reader— but in this case, the above stanzas were intended to invoke an atmosphere and a story line— similar to Anne Sexton’s Transformation poems. Her text reinvents the Grimm brother’s collected stories into something other—
I just pulled the book off the shelves and am thumbing through the pages. Sexton’s poems were written with the premise of altering a folk-story to a modern sensibility, a modern vernacular, without losing the original framework of the plot… if one does not know the Grimm brother’s original work, is something lost in Sexton’s translation? Are these merely the same concept of Andy Warhol’s photo-reprints of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley in flashy colors and different adjectives? Of course I know the answer to these questions. But for me, in order to make the intentions of the she-bear poem work, I need a slightly stronger basis of character development to justify the abstract nature of the passages.