Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pulling Up Trees by the Roots

I wrote Crossover in a heat, 5 days of sustained concentration, waking up in the morning to peck at keys, arranging and expanding the tropes on my lunch breaks at work, at night delaying sleep to smooth out the diction and reveal more meaning.

It’s odd to have a relationship with a poem. I recite it aloud to myself several times every day, exploring its resonance with me. At times it feels like an emotional touchstone when I feel churned up. Other times it feels like the memory of intense emotions. Reading it feels like a statement. I’ve said something meaningful. That’s what I ask most for from myself in my writing, that it be meaningful.

Now that I’m done with the first draft, I’m ready to read it aloud in public. Had 2 opportunities so far, but neither came to fruition. So far, only Michael Martin has heard the poem aloud. I’ve emailed it to several other friends, mostly in Seattle where the poem is set, but also to Victory, the older man who was very influential on the poem (and on me), and to Boychick, its catalyst.

The poem seems to communicate with gay men in particular, men my age. I’ve received a few email comments, especially calling out the phrase “desire pulling up coastal trees by the roots.” Must be a common enough experience.

I’m learning from this poem. About my ability to discern between desire and circumstances, about drifting versus conscious navigation through life, about my emotional maturity, and about my relationship to desire in the larger, existential sense, or Buddhist sense.

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