This is written in response to a specific question, from the perspective of a particular kind of person: a writer, a student, or just a creative thinker living an uncreative life. The answers are here, I suppose, but I task the reader to discern the contents of the original question, because I forgot.
A real poem is kind of like knowing exactly what you mean, or what you mean to express, or knowing exactly what you’re looking at. For instance, when one says, “oh my god it’s a huge fucking spider!” this is a kind of poetry. And with that in mind, we may be reminded why it’s fun to write poetry: it reaffirms our connection with the huge fucking world.
It’s about consciousness. I can see the spider and I know what it means to me, I recognize my own fear. The resulting “fuck” is a one word poem.
I don’t know why I’m here. I think an artist is an emphatically bored person. After a while, after driven to madness by boredom, people tend to do random weird things. Consider the swing set or the water slide. Works of genius. Maybe when we devolve into the nuances of our most desperate inclinations, we become artists. Boredom with the world, ironically, coincides with being forced to find wonder in it. I wake up in the morning and I know immediately that there isn’t enough, and that I’m completely disappointed with everything around me. Life is false urgency. The world may have already ended. At least, when it does end, I know for sure that no one will realize, because the true end is the end of change, and no one pays attention to that sort of thing. If I cannot change the forms that comprise my existence, then I am dead, and most days it seems as though I am. And so I’m perfectly justified in doing as I please. You cannot punish a dead person. This is going to be the best nihilism ever.
One thing I definitely enjoy is making people smile. I don’t see how people can enjoy being bored so much. Every once in a while I’ll do something entirely inappropriate just to relieve the pressure of how unamused I am, and it baffles me whenever people, usually people who are trying their hardest to accomplish something of value, don’t laugh along with whatever I happen to be doing. I thought you were artists! I thought you were just as emphatically bored as I was—I thought you’d understand!
I thought we’d all laugh together and enjoy the randomness, I thought randomness could be how I share with the world and make people smile. But you shit-heads don’t make it easy for me.
It’s easy to think of people as inanimate sometimes. I get where the artist, James Castle was coming from. Everything inanimate looks alive, like it’s looking at me, and everything living looks almost too well crafted, as though someone had put it there so that I’d think it was conscious or legitimate. I feel bad for objects that cannot speak or grasp their own existence. I have a very close friendship with my glasses. In the same way I can look at inanimate objects and detect a faint and imaginary ghost of consciousness, I can look at my own physical being as an equally separate and haunted entity. My hands are not quite my hands. They are a pair of mysterious creatures who carry out tasks for me. For the most part I trust them, even though they give me strange looks at night when I’m going to sleep—which I’ve written about extensively (they look like five eyed cherubs, or something)—but I think I’ve earned their respect over the years.
Anyhow, over winter break I went skydiving in Miami and since then I’ve been repeating to myself that I’m fearless ever since I jumped out of that plane. I can do anything, I’m not going to fail, I jumped out of a plane, I believe in myself.
When I reread what I’ve written, I know it is sincere, yet I also feel as though it makes me sound schizophrenic, which I am certainly not. I think that perhaps we are all disconnected from reality and rational thinking in different degrees and spectrums. I am in tune with the irrationality of consciousness. I am both awake and asleep. The world appears as a series of expressions. The world stares into me.
At this stage of my young life, I don’t know what I want to accomplish outside of carrying along with my usual tendencies. Maybe I will finish a good chunk of the supposed “novel” I’m working on. I feel like such a jackass. Other writers around my age actually put in effort. They write for publications and things like that. They write articles and get involved, even if it’s not what they’re completely passionate for, they are still getting experience that I am not. I don’t even know where to begin. I am pacing on clouds.
But that doesn’t really matter. This faraway place where I am is the real world, and the place where everyone else has managed to fit in does not really exist. Civilization is a collective fantasy. My deadness to the world is my freedom to write. Maybe this is all just a childish rationalization, but we will see what is real and what is rationalized when our own bodies disintegrate and our organs fail and all the passed moments of our lives become unreachable. It’s a childish tone. An adult would speak calmly, they’d be accessible. In the moment of clear-head, you can keep your calmness to yourself. All I can feel is fire, and it’s the only source of illumination from which to see. Someday I will go, or maybe return. We will disappear. I cannot resent this difficult world or anyone, because everyone has already disappeared. Sometimes I feel the tingling of five dimensions, and I can feel that even now, everything has already ended. I am remembering the present as it passes, and when life is over, I’ll remember it once more. Maybe I want to shout, “You people were all so wrong. You just can’t see what I see. You can’t, because you’re not smart enough, you’re not special enough. I am the chosen one, and you’re just people, consumer fodder for untouchable corporate psychopaths. Another inanimate box of tricks, you’re all scum to me. I couldn’t make the truth accessible to you if I tried. I cannot release you from the curse.” It’s just as well that those thoughts stay inside.
At least, that’s where I’ve been in my head, not openly, but sometimes. The truer extent of what I’m capable of doing with my life still lies to be opened. Cleverer thoughts remain. Abstractions often lead to evil, and that’s why it helps to build with words. I put “Walls” in a tree” and they became a tree house, and I climbed inside and found it pleasant, a thing of beauty. It’s a luminous creation, in that it brings clarity to itself, and then renders the rest of the world in a more meaningful light. To be clear, this is not a lofty, whimsical use of the word “light.” I refer to a light that is physical, that can be handled and bent and nailed firmly to a tree, or seen on a wall or a stretched canvas. A poet sees the light, and the artist controls it
To be anywhere near that state of mind requires some kind of balancing act with the functioning practices of people. Sometimes I just want to sleep. Or I long to at least feel as though I were free, and I’ve gone to unnecessary and damaging lengths to provide evidence–to myself and to countless strangers, that I am.
One of the most universal and persistent lies expressed throughout history by nearly everyone at some point is “I don’t care.”