Sunday 26 November 2006
Two hours of sleep last night. Catching up on things. Not enough. Never enough. So many things. Where will they take me? When? I am walking now in the cold rain to the lake. It is Sunday again. 7:30 a.m. I realize I have the wrong jacket on. This jacket is not waterproof, only a windbreak and orange. We were expecting snow. I would have preferred snow. I have a down jacket and long johns underneath. Hat. Gloves. Boots today. The rain is soaking right through my orange windbreaker.
I notice, by chance, two of the signs I posted last week. Part of the history I am building. The signs are part of my compliment project. I am taping short phrases to signposts. Things such as, "You are extraordinary." "I appreciate you." "You really are beautiful." "Thank you for being you." Whenever I see one, I can't help but smile. I don't know if anyone else has seen them. Is anyone else smiling? I shall call this project "Aurora, With Compliments."
As I pace in and out of my forest, the page I hold to my chin soaks through. My hands are cold, too cold to turn these rain-glued pages. I can barely separate them, one from the other, with these fat red hands. The rain pickles my top page, soaks into its grain. One page begins to read through the next.
I give in, tear a page from my book and mop up the pools on my desk with it. I smooth it onto the wood, pull it across the wet surface, drag with it a taffy line of rainwater. A page from my print out. A page from an old anthology. With each wet page, I walk into Sherwood, and smooth it onto a trunk. The south sides of the trees are dark with water and bright green with moss beneath. The trunks hold the pages well.
It is 1pm. The forest is papered in poetry. 15 poems on 10 trees. As you look into Sherwood, you see rectangles on the trees. The white squares are drawing people in. At noon, I walked to PCC for something hot to eat. When I came back, Sherwood was peopled with lively men and women reading the trees. What a sight!
Clinton stopped by with a copy of Voyaging on a Small Income by Annie Hall. His gift foretells good things. Sailing friends come to visit on his heels. Hayley and Fiona, Leslie and Bob. Keelboat friends from the UDub. Hayley didn't waste any time. She pulled out a camping stove and began frying some bacon, then boiled water for hot chocolate. She set her stove up on the forest floor. We held our umbrellas over her, listening to the sizzle and bubble of warm things, things to fuel an afternoon.
At 2pm, the wind clocked around to the north and the rain began lashing the path. A rare and violent storm! It grew noticeably colder. Then… it began to snow.
After the bacon and cheese sandwiches, after the hot chocolate, after baklava, we paced the water's edge, shielding ourselves from the wind and snow with our umbrellas, waiting for the sign to end this poetry session. At 3pm, I conceded to a short day. Due to the icy roads, due to the imminent snow storm, I will close my poetry desk early, just this once.
But 15 people came to the poetry desk today. 15 people stopped to talk. On a day like today, that is something!
THE SECRET SOCIETY OF POETRY
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, beat poet and owner and publisher of City Lights in San Francisco, calls out to the poets in his Populist Manifesto No. 1
Poets, come out of your closets,
Open your windows, open your doors,
You have been holed-up too long
in your closed worlds.
It is not that the public has abandoned us, dear poet, but we have abandoned the public. Show me a poet. Show me a poet! Look under a tree. Behind a rock. In the middle of a pool. Is that a poet on the shore? On the horizon?
Poetry isn’t a secret society,
It isn’t a temple either.
Secret words & chants won’t do any longer.
Have we denied ourselves the possibility and potential of communication? A word given directly? Emotion, sensation, directed from pen to ear to heart to mind to body?
All you poet’s poets writing poetry
Academia isn't so far to travel, but the war, the street outside, the office, the boatyard, the telelvision.. these places are further. Today's poet, fed up with the world, sits toying with her words by dim candlelight in her den, masturbating her mind, massaging her notebook with words that do few any good and are fit only for the stapled zine that no reads but its contributors.
Clear your throat and speak up,
Poetry is dead, long live poetry
with terrible eyes and buffalo strength.
The buffalo has patience, patience and strength.
Poetry the common carrier
for the transportation of the public
to higher places
than other wheels can carry it.
This is what Paul too says, a Green Lake Circler, all news, all of the information we are storing up, everything meaningful that has happened, that must be remembered, everything that leads the way to our knowing, to the future by way of the past, must come to us by way of poetry. There is no other way.
Poetry still falls from the skies
into our streets still open.
They haven’t put up the barricades, yet,
the streets still alive with faces,
lovely men & women still walking there,
still lovely creatures everywhere,
in the eyes of all the secret of all
still buried there,
Whitman’s wild children still sleeping there,
Awake and walk in the open air.
This is Ferlinghetti’s message to you, dear poet. Go back out to the street. Go back where you started. You will see, upon standing for an hour or two, the lovely creatures still there. This is your subject. And audience. This is your image and ear.