Image courtesy of the Old Design Shop, a vintage image treasury. This image of bicycles and bicycling outfits is from a page in the April 1895 issue of The Delineator magazine.
How’s the poetry going?
Is a giveaway question
on the pavement.
It signals you
have not read
Or otherwise you have,
and now on meeting
on the pavement
you wonder, this
that the poet
has written recently,
is any of it about me?
There is a post often shared on social media among the writing community that reads something to the effect of, “Do not upset a writer or they will kill you off.” Whenever I re-read it, I chuckle a little.
Of course, writers are not without fault and many (of greater wisdom than I possess) certainly look to their own foibles to create villains or draw inspiration for their work’s darkness. However, inspiration also comes from circumstances and experiences lived. Yes, for me there are some people’s comments and actions that have spurred particular imaginative turns. This works best when the initial situation proves a spark for an augmented parallel vista, such as in my recent series of short stories (see
Gone are the cars
Running in the wood
I don’t expect most of the people who engage in daily small talk with me to be avid followers of these blog updates, though I do suspect (and can attest, from being asked) that when they do read my work, there is curiosity as to whom or what it might reference.
So here’s a clue: there just might be something I’ve written ‘about’ you.
I have also written about small talk before.
Word amphibians hold the real treasures
felt in the veins. But we talk more, more.
Make more words known to each other.
Chime this topic. Ring out that story.
Wring out absolutely the whole truth.
While the word amphibians live in those tones;
they also swim in the extract of transmission.
I wrote the usual mini-essay to accompany this poem and on re-reading decided to leave it out. I am quite certain you have had your own experiences of word amphibians.
Beaded Quill on
Actually it’s very simple.
Either it’s in motion
or it is not.
This bears the signs
That bears the signs
Words to-ing and fro-ing
the mask of nonsense.
A liberating revelation in my younger youth was the concept of He’s Just Not That Into You (HJNTIY). The rule-of-thumb is if someone in whom you are interested is not pursuing you, they’re really not that interested in return. In the book (and movie) and common understanding, the pursuit is framed as man pursues woman. I have found it a useful concept for relationships of all sorts, including job offers and even dealing with estate or travel agents. Brutal, un-nuanced and woefully marginalising of women’s agency, HJNTIY is however a great counter approach for those with too much headspace for pining, mooning and generally idealised, but unrequited, romanticism. This imaginative energy can then be better applied to creativity – playing halting Romantic Lieder on the piano, dancing Argentine tango and writing bad poetry.
It has been ten years since the book proposing HJNTIY (and its Sex in the City dialogue cameo) entered popular discourse. This probably dates me. I still consider myself more a younger sister who looked up to the SITC quartet than a peer of the Girls generation. (In fact, my younger sister prophesied that one day I – à la Carrie Bradshaw – would be sitting at my laptop in my apartment typing up many a misadventure. This evening almost fulfills her premonition, bar the fact that I type this in my little rented room.)
Many of my lovely, often truly heartbroken friends as well as my aforementioned sister have been subjected to my less than sympathetic dismissals. It’s not complicated. Either it’s happening or it’s not. Next topic. On the other hand, I have had many a patient friend listen to my timed and dated litanies – there was this, then that, then this other thing. And, he left his cigarettes behind!
“As a smoker, I can say that truly means nothing. I’m always forgetting my cigarettes and lighters in places.”
Ah yes, that was a good misadventure from eight years ago that I’d almost forgotten. Nope, never did hear from that one again. Nor from the friend who offered the advice. But this much I know and it isn’t complicated – HJNTIY.
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness
What do you believe?
to see truth lived quietly and consistently
is powerful. My father died like that.
In trees we find tall truths
deeper rooted than human folly.
I believe in stakes
that make us choose a path
right, or left or denial.
Denial comes back to
haunt us in choice, again.
I believe in money and class
and opportunity because we pretend
these things don’t matter.
I must be Marxist. In part they do.
At sunrise, I believe in God.
Under stars, I breathe an awesome Universe.
In front of a computer’s glare, as I click the news,
I believe there is no benevolence, no God.
What you sow, you reap. I like this as a concept.
In the end, I believe I’m just little me.
A friend posed the question – and of course, I couldn’t resist fiddling some thoughts into poem.
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness