Aboutby Guillermo A. Fisher
So I have been reading more poetry & creative prose lately, as I’ve been feeling far removed from the world of literature and the arts in general, and I’ve stumbled upon the works of LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka for the first time. If you know me (and, in the name of saving words, I’m going to make the wholesale assumption that you must since you’re here), this is hopefully a surprise to you: hopefully, you’ve been fooled into thinking that I’m well read, because I do put an industry’s worth of work into inactively keeping up the appearance that I have more in common with the intellectual that I should be than the moron my mind sees, under the weight of all this skin & intrusion. All of that aside, I came across something that made me take a good look at myself (again).
I have not been writing for years. I have been forcing myself to write, except in maybe one or two isolated instances of flash inspiration that served appearances and not purpose, and I don’t really count those. I’ve spent the last few years thinking about why I haven’t been writing, and I’ve made a plausible list of reasons, all whose crux is time and its supposed absence in my day-to-day life. That time thing is garbage. It’s a cop-out, and a weak one at that. I have always had the time. I have not always had a sense of the person who would ultimately be doing the writing and, more than anything else, that has been a fatal constant in my adulthood. That has been it from day nought of all of this new me that I am just beginning to get my arms around.
The jump was abrupt. Six years of nothing.
Picture me digging holes into the horizon, arms flailing, careening towards the sun on Tuesday and walking towards you on Wednesday, well groomed and stoic, keeping a reasonable pace but still hot to the touch. That is, essentially, how it happened; and in missing the information one would normally collect in moving from pole to pole, I have had a hard time resolving the change. That means, in more concrete terms, that I’ve been trying to figure out how to be around people. It means I have come to hate the sound of my voice because I don’t ever recognize it. It means that if there are places on this burning earth more uncomfortable than conversations, I pray to my God and yours (whether you believe in Him or not) that I never get to know what their air tastes like, because those places are collectively my Hell. I am a man torn. It is true: God helps those who help themselves. I haven’t been asking for help in this arena, just trying to make it through the new, ignoring everything before it as if it was all a fluke, and no one wants that. Not me. Not Him.
I think I’m supposed to be working it all out.
Here’s what Jones wrote:
I’d stopped at a bench and sat down near a square. It was quiet and I could see a long way off toward the newer, more Americanized part of the city, the Condado Beach section, where I could only go if in uniform, so they would know I was an Americano and not a native. I had been reading one of the carefully put together exercises The New Yorker publishes constantly as high poetic art, and gradually I could feel my eyes fill up with tears, and my cheeks were wet and I was crying, quietly, softly but like it was the end of the world. I had been moved by the writer’s words, but in another, very personal way … I was crying because I realized that I could never write like that writer. Not that I had any real desire to, but I knew even if I had had the desire I could not do it. I realized that there was something in me so out, so unconnected with what this writer was and what that magazine was that what was in me that wanted to come out as poetry would never come out like that and be my poetry.
And I guess I’ll leave it at that and let the rest of the site be my attempt to explain what all of that means to me. Fair? No? Ah well.Your Feedback Civil & constructive, please.