It’s the 14th day of NaPoWrimo and the prompts are a dialogue poem and an honest, or dishonest poem, from NaPoWriMo and Writer’s Digest, respectively. My offering is a combo (of course) and it’s related to something my wife and I were speaking about earlier in the day.
in a time with shape, less form,
& with no true reflection, within
the parenthesis of sleep,
i walked past a dream:
Soul: “…i saw a man once.”
Self: “was it his reflection in a puddle?”
Soul: “no. It was a tuesday morning.”
Self: “in the street?”
Soul: “on a ladder, crying to the slush.”
Self: “in the snow? whatever for?”
Soul: “within the skirt of smoke around
the ankles of a mountain, like so many
times before & because he thought
they wouldn’t listen, otherwise.”
Self: “like many times before, eh?
ladder, you say? did he speak?”
Soul: “oh no, drank, he did.”
Self: “and what were his tastes?”
Soul: “flights full of words of all sorts.”
Self: “did he get drunk?”
Soul: “drunk, indeed!”
Self: “was he alone?”
Soul: “no, he was accompanied
by the slush. they loved him.”
Self: “the slush did?”
Soul: “the slush, yes. walking back &
forth stopping, listening,
paying him no mind, whatsoever.”
Self: “then, how did they love him?”
Soul: “oh, copiously!
they loved the life out of him, ‘til he died.
see, he was of anonymous amusement to them.”
Self: “had to have been of a broken heart.”
Soul: “more like from time squandered. up on the ladder.”
Self: “the slush, they killed him, then?”
Soul: “well, he died from running out of words,
up on the ladder. caring too much about the slush…”
We both put much, if not all, of ourselves into our writing/art and wonder if sometimes it’s all meaningless. Well, ultimately nothing in this world will matter but while we are here and things still hold value, is what we are doing meaningless? As artists we all want to be seen through what we create in lieu of what we don’t say. It’s us, except beautified, in order to make it palatable for others. When it’s rejected, tossed aside, looked past, its personal.
My offering today is a conversation between the soul and the self. Self is asking questions about a man who the soul brings to his attention. The man is wanting to be seen, at least just understood. Everyone and everything just passes along and never stops. They love him for the sake of occupancy in their presence but for nothing more and eventually he has nothing he wants to share. He runs out of words.
Have any of you experienced this feeling of meaninglessness, recently? How did you overcome it?
Conrad Potter Aiken was born in Savannah, Georgia, on August 5, 1889. He was raised by a great-great-aunt in Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard in 1912, the same period as T. S. Eliot and E. E. Cummings. During this time, he was also a contributing editor to Dial magazine, where he befriended Ezra Pound. His first collection of poetry, Earth Triumphant, was published in 1914, establishing his reputation as a poet.
Most of Aiken’s poetry reflects an intense interest in psychoanalysis and the development of identity. Of the many influences Aiken acknowledged, the writings of Freud, William James, Edgar Allan Poe, and the French Symbolists are most evident in his work. The forms and sounds of music pervade all of Aiken’s highly introspective poetry, collected in The Jig of Forslin (1916); The Charnel Rose (1918); Selected Poems(1929), which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1930; Brownstone Eclogues (1942); The Kid (1947); Collected Poems (1953), which won the National Book Award; and Collected Poems 1916-1970 (1970). His work in Collected Novels (1964), including Blue Voyage (1927), shows Aiken to be a master of interior monologue. His novels had a profound influence on the works of many young writers of the day, including his protégé, Malcolm Lowry.
cited- poets.org: Conrad Aiken
by Conrad Aiken
Twilight is spacious, near things in it seem far,
And distant things seem near.
Now in the green west hangs a yellow star.
And now across old waters you may hear
The profound gloom of bells among still trees,
Like a rolling of huge boulders beneath seas.
Silent as though in evening contemplation
Weaves the bat under the gathering stars.
Silent as dew, we seek new incarnation,
Meditate new avatars.
In a clear dusk like this
Mary climbed up the hill to seek her son,
To lower him down from the cross, and kiss
The mauve wounds, every one.
Men with wings
In the dusk walked softly after her.
She did not see them, but may have felt
The winnowed air around her stir;
She did not see them, but may have known
Why her son’s body was light as a little stone.
She may have guessed that other hands were there
Moving the watchful air.
Now, unless persuaded by searching music
Which suddenly opens the portals of the mind,
We guess no angels,
And are contented to be blind.
Let us blow silver horns in the twilight,
And lift our hearts to the yellow star in the green,
To find perhaps, if, while the dew is rising,
Clear things may not be seen.