I am happiest when my hands find a new gesture. To draw a new line to form the wings of an insect, to feel a different grip on the steering wheel, to roll someone else’s sleeve for very the first time. The excitement is born of the infinity–250 different ways to lace your boots, at least–burdening the watcher with a continuum of discovery. Of course, no one’s always watching, but I do try to show up from time to time.
That’s how I write poems: the constant calibrating and recalibrating of invention–even if it has been done before (probably many times.) Poetry is architecture as much as it is archaeology. It unearths and constructs simultaneously, manipulating the living, breathing anthology of experience and exposure to build worlds that appear new. I can create an index to house every gesture I believe can tell of kindness, of love. I can name that index, too. I have absolute control of every mark I make; I have absolutely no control over the existential context from which they arrive, piecemeal or in tact.
(I think control may be what drew me to poetry at first. I took a lot of comfort in the notion that I could produce something entirely my own whenever and wherever I felt the push. I could see it and hold it in my hands, and if I wanted, I could make someone else know about it to. Folks could impose upon my index exclusively upon my invitation. Kind of like a tattoo somewhere people can only see if you show them–I thought that was pretty sexy; I still do. Am I losing my gist here? Aesthetic. Gesture? Kindness? Kindness.)
To write a poem is an act of kindness that is very different from an act of “nice-ness” but much more like an act of love–only people are much more agreeable when you start your poems with the word “kindness” the word “love.” I also think kindness has a fuller, more structural substance to it–encapsulating anything from altruism to neologisms to evolution–when it’s merciful.
A poem is kindness. An organ is kindness. A full tire is certainly, certainly kindness.
And to all those not writing love poems: I salute you.