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theblackbottomofawell

on dead birds

as part of a clean-out of old materials, i will intermittently be publishing poems from what i can only think to term ‘the back-catalogue’. versions of poems will appear in sequence & may include commentary. poetry has been something of a journalistic exercise in that many of my early works (many pages now lost) exhibited a(n) emotionally/temporally fixed feature of what-precisely-@-the-time. this is not altogether uncommon. the impetus for many young poets is very often teenage Angst — e.g. “why can’t my parents/teachers/friends/&c. understand me?” and so on — or some sort of linguistic tarry in the Now imbued w/ an insufferable lack of foresight. i suspect & have suspected for some time that improvement in poetic praxis is barometric rather than linear. as the need for explanation, new symbols or expressions becomes more pressing, more desperate, the easier it becomes to create something of poetic value. the terms of this invisible contract btwn writer & audience become increasingly mitigated w/ time. telling the truth — to wit, that one knows not whereof one speaks, that the game is rigged, that telling is a matter tempered by acceptability, that the very act of explanation drives one further from what one intends to explain — becomes obligatory & the fallacy of youth (my emotion=all emotion) is uncovered for its treason. teenage Angst asks why no one understands. i’ve come to believe that the mark of my own poetic maturity is the acceptance of this ignorance & a dance around that burning centre. the history of this personal development is embedded in a written lifetime of assertions. an insatiable desire for certainty, in large measure a reaction against the tumult w/in me as i grappled w/ what was seemingly unable to be expressed (gender identity & sexuality).

‘a body of work’. this is what we call it. the very terms of its existence are indistinct. bodies & work. i have a body, but so does a cat. we say the damaged car needs bodywork. work is physical, but solving a mental puzzle is also work. poetic work is both. the differences & variability of language render certainty to any measure impossible. i am not the master of how my words are received. how my body, this body i make, makes impact w/ the world. i can only control how i make the body. how i express & manipulate those signs. me is one thing, but me is another.

the works that will follow shall be as dead birds—

so that the difference thereafter is flight.