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Friday, November 7, 2008

For a few years now, I have struggled with the concept that I am not a poet. It's like a weather forecast: all the conditions are right but the storm just isn't happening. I have bipolar disorder, which usually a side effect is the individual being a bit more creative, and has also lead me into situations and experiences that I frankly would rather never have had. I'm fairly intelligent, even bordering into clever. I have a good command of the english language and I typically spell things correctly.

Prose comes to me like music came to Mozart. The best way to describe anything is with a far fetched bizarre analogy, which I even use in my papers for school. In fact, many of my grades on term papers were saved from lousy research by exotically descriptive prose and a good analogy.

But what is poetry? Ryan studied it, and I have not. Sure, I've read books, and discovered that Dickinson is not to my liking, and so forth. Where does one cross the line. It's like traveling in the United States; adjacent states can be so similar that you may not know you've crossed the line except for the sign. I've heard rap called the poetry of the streets, and I've heard rock stars called poets, but I can't usually accept either of those labels. Rap can be very cleverly rhymed, but what does it do? I don't see past the egocentricity and party boasts. Rock lyrics can be so vague. Some of the songs that used to really move me now seem to me to be nothing more than words chosen at random out of a dictionary by a word-sniffing dog. Unfortunately, this kind of writing is what my attempts usually emulate.

go on
favor everyone but myself
to create just to fail,
and thus fail to create
and the world still anticpates.

No one knows what I'm talking about. This wouldn't get any real respect in academia, or from people who are more literate than limericks. Ryan said writing must be practiced, but I can't fix dribble like I fix my intonation or phrasing in music.

Planes Mistaken For Stars wrote a song that really sums up what I'm feeling (at least to me; in true rock fashion I don't know what they intended to mean).


Poet, I'm sick of your pretty lies.
and it was about the song that sang of the shelves I wished you on, now sing along.
and I used to wish my heart as good, my heart as strong.
Don't say it's gone.
I'll pull the truth to you.
And even if it breaks us both down, don't say it's gone.

I like it because of some clever word play and it's unpretentious nature. I think they are singing about not really writing something that may stand the test of time or will be quoted in readings (except for maybe a blog!). I think the style of writing emulates the message: unmetered, unrhymed, unstanza-ed, unsuave. And I think that they (and myself) know the difference.

But they, and I, both know what we really wish for and want. The conditions are favorable. We want a storm.