Thursday, January 19, 2012

The World Is Poetry


There is a lot going on tonight.

We had people over for dinner. My best friend, Chris and his wife. Awfully nice to be in the kitchen, cooking, talking, drinking wine and generally having a lovely time. We got to hang around for hours together, drank and ate what would have been at least $120 of drink and food at a restaurant for about $30 and never had to wait for the check. We also got to program the music, pet the dog, and let the kids wander as they pleased.

Then, after our friends had left, I went online to CNN and caught some of the Republican debate. I thought about the people we had just had over, looked at the screen and listened to the talk, and realized that I wouldn't ever want one of those bozos in my home, eating my food, and drinking my wine. None of them had anything realistic to say and all seemed mean-spirited and ridiculous. How, I wondered, could anyone believe anything coming out of their mouths? (By the way, I wonder the same about the Democrats, so don't go all nutty on me here.)

Later, I read online about a friend who is having all sorts of trouble with her work PC and really wishes she were using a Mac. I almost posted that I knew how she felt but in reverse. Then I realized what a stupid argument Mac v. PC is and decided not to. If she's happier on a Mac, why shouldn't she use a Mac? And if I don't ever want to use one again, why should I? The Republicans might not know how to live and let live, but I'm learning.

Earlier in the day, I passed a plastic chair that had been put out to the curb with a broken leg. While waiting for my girls to get out of school I wrote about that chair and how a broken leg on a plastic resin chair is the end of usefulness for it, but that the remains of the thing will still be in the landfill a few hundred or thousand years from now. Had the chair been wooden, someone could have fixed it, or broken it down and let it rot. I thought about the waste of all that. I did that thinking inside a car filled with plastic and while listening to music on a phone that won't ever biodegrade. I suppose hypocrisy will last in the landfill for a few thousand years as well. Just ask those guys at the debate.

And then tonight, I sat in bed thinking about what to write and nothing at all came to mind. I went online, looked at Google+, then Twitter, and finally Facebook. Nothing. I looked at NPR, the NY Times, Slashdot. Still nothing. I put music on. Switched to a different song. Switched some more. And still nothing.

So I just started typing and right about here I remembered something that happened.

I finished a poem today and posted it online. It's not bad. You can read it here.

I was going to write my post about how I think that everyone should read a little poetry but most people don't because they were mistaught how to read it. They were taught that poems are puzzles or maps to buried treasure. They were taught that poetry is tricky to read. Nonsense. It's just words on a page or screen.

But instead of writing about that, I wrote about dinner with friends, the damn Republican blowhards, Macs vs. PCs, and a broken plastic chair. Each a poem of its own in that they tell me just a little bit about what it is like to be a person in this world and what it is like for other people. The conversation at dinner is a series of short sections of an epic poem that Chris and I have been writing for 43 years. The Republicans are reciting farcical poetry, in the spirit of court jesters, just as politicians do every election year. The poetry of the computer debate comes down to us accepting what Walt Whitman said when asked why he composed on both PCs and Macs: "Do I contradict myself, very well then, I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes." And the plastic chair is a sad haiku about the state of our modern world. Broken plastic chair, abandoned at the curbside, dead leaves under snow.

There's really nothing else to do in this world but write on and on and on.