My best mate faithfully subscribes to my blog via email and gainfully tries to read all my witterings, offering his comments and observations privately via text or email. I love him for this. Actually, I loved him anyway, this is just an indication that, for once, my choice of love was not misplaced.
Re And these words…, he observed that he had no idea what my point was. OK. I like that he is always honest. I’m not a fan of over-explaining things, it’s nearly as bad as retrospectively trying to explain a joke, but here goes. It was constructed as a rather disjointed, fractured imaginary conversation between me and the poet Vahni, using snippets of her poetry out of context as her side of the dialogue. Nevertheless, the quoted excerpts were about a sense of disconnection and difficulty of communication, possibly between a writer and their reader, accentuated by the fact the conversation was itself a pure fabrication. It was nevertheless a reflection of my personal response to the poetry she had written.
I worry about the the relationships between writers and readers, and indeed between all the users of language and their listeners. I think I have struck a happy medium with regard to my own conflicts in this area. One, I have resigned myself that I’m going to write these things regardless, and attempt to speak authentically without concern for the approval or validation of others. That is the intent. Two, if anyone does choose to read any of this, I am wildly appreciative that they have taken the time, and sometimes leave me a trace that they have done so.
I once pointed out to the aforementioned friend that writing is not like making a fucking table. You know straight away if a table wobbles, or is flat, or any of the other things that make it fit for purpose. A table can be good in a vacuum. Writing, or speaking, cannot. A poem is written for its own sake, but language is the tool of communication, not a tradable commodity. And is certainly no good sat in a drawer.
I forget where I saw this, but somewhere I read that the prime concern of a poet is to be understood, which chimed with me completely. I know that some of the people that encouraged me to do this had an eye on potential lucrative reward, but dear god if money were the object you wouldn’t write bloody poetry. It really isn’t the point. Another choice snippet of advice I stumbled on was Don’t be a dick and try to copyright poems.
Why? Because no-one will steal them. Hollywood screenwriters will not be battering down your door offering contracts to turn poetry into the latest Leonardo DiCaprio summer blockbuster. It doesn’t happen. There is no financial reward to protect, which is the purpose of such legal hoop-la.
It is not as though I own any of the words. They have all been used before, and continue to be used on a daily basis by millions. There are only so many stories, so many songs and sonnets, and the best we can do is re-tell them and re-order the words in different ways that perhaps speak to a person in a way that they have not been spoken to before. The response of the reader or listener is an essential component. Mrs Bloggins ordering half a pound of sausages from the man behind the counter in EasyMeatIsUs is still the application of language in a meaningful, straightforward way. Were she to order them in Japanese, then maybe he would not understand. The words are valueless without reception and comprehension, otherwise they are just noise.
Is it possible to speak or write meaningfully? That’s the six million dollar question. I’d like to think so but I, nor anyone else, shall ever know the answer if the words are hidden or restrained from view.
I sometimes get frustrated by people who appear not to comprehend certain things. Who appear either to a) be unaware that they will be dead, and quite soon or b) be unable to express the implications of that. It is such a profound common denominator I can wind up wondering if we are of the same species or living on the same planet. Love and loss are the twin heartbeats of humanity, its warp and woof. Anyone that doesn’t get that is a cunt. I will never tire of either, the stuff of all our words, and as Bukowski advised will likely
BANG IT. BANG IT. BANG IT
for better or worse until my fingers drop off.
Anyhow. I think I broke Facebook. I habitually post my blog links there but And these words… seems to have been the final straw. It is not what Facebook is for, it seems. Even yesterday’s anticipation of happy poems and cats garnered a mere two clicks.