Thursday, July 13, 2017

Poetry, Ghost

I just found a cache of poetry, hidden in the husk of my old Macbook's hard drive (which itself lives in a file on the desktop of my desktop).  It's my poetry, pieces that I wrote over years and years, and then in a burst of one season in New Hampshire.

It's odd to see it again- collected this way.  I knew it was there, I mean... in a moment of rare egoism, I pulled my favorites from the annals of old computers, journals, scrap paper, and put them together with the thought of publishing a (very) small book.  Then the moment was gone, replaced by my usual entrenched lack of confidence.  So I knew it was there.

But I didn't remember what I put where, or how I let the collection take on a specific canto.  Looking at it now, it doesn't work.  Certain pieces need to be moved to the top, others removed completely.

Then there's the editing.

Of course there are type-os (my father would have a field day with the type-os) because I type too fast and only ever let my eyes graze the words appearing on the screen.  But they can be dealt with.  But then there's the loss of these poems' spirits, the loss of what I meant and felt and saw, when I initially wrote them.  Lost because translation from scribbled on a page to clean and typed in a Word document doesn't always work.

There's one, called "Père Lachaise, Paris, November."  I remember writing it (not immediately after I visited Père Lachaise for the first time, nor even when I was actually living in Paris).  I remember frantically trying to get my hand to keep up with my brain.  I remember the bound burgundy cloth journal it's written in, the way I scrawled the title on the side of the page rather than at the beginning of the poem, the blueness of the ink.  I remember a line that I wrote:

for the miracle of birth is mine...

What it looks like in my head.
I remember it, I remember writing it, I can see it in my mind's eye.  But nowhere in the typed, sanitized, black-and-white version of that poem does that line appear.  And I can't for the life of me recall why I took it out.  It's a pretty important part, it means something in the overall flow... and yet it's missing.  Because of my apparently tragic editing skills.

Mostly, re-reading these pieces, I remember how I used to write.  I wrote feverishly- I wrote the way people write when they're scared of dying the next day.  I wrote the way you write when you're the only person reading.  I wrote with passion and abandon.

And lots of scribbling.  

What affected me the most, though, finding all that poetry, is how little I write now.  How much I have forgotten, how much I have let go.

It breaks my heart that I only quickly skimmed the document (tentatively called 'Conversations') when I came across it (looking for something else entirely) and have not yet gone back to read each and every word as a singular entity and gift.

The things we remember, the things we forget.  Man.

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