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Page 90

Nothing (of which the blankness of a new page
is a subspecies -- the nothing of no words,
the possibility of any words) is what we,
creators and observers of somethings, most natively
are, or, removed from it by our becomings,
is yet what we sense lurking in our lives
as the library to which we are overdue,

dreaded when we fear the dissolution
of all we think we are and of all that that
holds dear; embraced when these become
burdens, confinements.

(That's a mouthful of marshmallow.
I must really be something to weave
that sticky a web!)

So, as I was saying, I says to myself, Self,
I says.... But, seriously, folks, a poet,
fearing blankness, insists on knowing
who he is before creating who he is
by writing words on a page.

But no living poet enters the stream of words
twice. To write is to act: each pen stroke or key stroke
changes who we are.

Not wanting that flux (nauseous), a poet relies for self-definition
on the critic (friendly or not, himself or another --
but if himself, always the ghost of some other)
to make pronouncements, tell him who he is,
what he'll be (or not) to future generations, what sort
of a sort of a poet he is -- the verbal equivalent
of mortuary science. Stone by stone, criticism --
constructive crypticism (what else builds crypts?) --
surrounds the poet with his echoing -- he hopes
echoing -- vault.

Note: Stanza 5 – Heraclitus said "It is impossible to step into the same stream twice." At least that's what we think he said. It's a little unclear across languages and centuries. We asked him to say the same thing again, but he said that would be impossible.

End of stanza 6: For echoing, I prefer the shower to a vault. I nipped the echoing vault from Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress to Make Much of Time." The poet here (end of last stanza) hopes the vault is echoing with his own words, with words praising his words, etc. Seems a poor consolation.

Critics and reviewers tend to categorize poets. Some poets live for this. Others are always elsewhere by the time some critic categorizes some decoy the poet left behind.

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