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Tuesday afternoon, 05 August 2008

This has been the hardest summer of my life. Every week, there are new struggles regarding power or money or both, and I don't see any end very soon. I might not even get what I need by the time I start my MA programme next month, because the past has a nasty bite, and I don't know how to ask for help. The pieces would fall into place, if, if, if. The ifs are killing me.

But I've been writing more poems lately, spurred by Jimmy's invocation to be more honest, rather than to search for a beautiful word or image; beauty is a priori to truth. Last night I had read aloud an old poem, and he showed me where I had been 'cute', the cuteness a disguise for a lack of understanding. Why not allow that incomprehension to drive the poem? The struggle for comprehension is truthful; it works for the poem; gives it life; rather than dressing the poem, as if it was a mannequin, to disguise its shortcomings (i.e., the fact that it is a mannequin of a poem).

"I am romantic or sentimental enough to wish to contribute something to life’s fabric. Simply to live does not justify existence, for life is a mere gesture on the surface of the earth, and death a return to that from which we had never been wholly separated; but oh to leave a trace, no matter how faint, of that brief gesture! For someone, someday, may find it beautiful!”—Frank O’Hara, as a senior at Harvard in January, 1949.


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