I have been asked to give context to the last post, the found poem, which I find at least marginally hilarious and quite tender. To the ones who accuse me of opacity! I know how you feel. I’m reading Bowering’s Burning Water *again* and I’m determined to appreciate it as much as possible, because I know it has that status, and some of the ones who do appreciate it happen to be ones I at least marginally idolize. And that is the way that I roll. Besides, “appreciate” leaves some wiggle room, don’t you agree?
In fact this approach works pretty well, coupled with my determination to enjoy myself as I work through these last months of my current degree. (See what I did there?) Yesterday, after growing frustrated with reading this book again, trying to appreciate it, looking for a “response” to write, and feeling like I just couldn’t pay attention, I took my leave of it for a few hours to go practice and teach, and probably somewhere during spine strengthening series I got an idea for what to write. I really love it when this happens. Too often the temptation is to freak out a little bit and insist there’s no time for yoga. At the risk of sounding saccharine and boring my own self: I must yet point out that taking time to reaffirm what I love as a bodily experience makes my brain work better. In this case too, the attitude of the idea was not the sure-that’ll-work-it’s-aligned-with-our-themes kind, but the hey-that’s-cheeky-and-I-actually-want-to-talk-about-it kind.
There’s a third piece to this (and then I’ll get to contextualizing the found poem). I was cruising around on the net looking for stuff to read and I came across someone’s blog in which she states: I love to write. I’ve completed x number of papers and a master’s thesis or whatever &c. Reading this, I thought: huh. Right. That IS what brought me here. Why so stressed? What is the point of that? And this realization flooded in as a big mental and emotional push, along with memories of papers I wrote with actual glee. Glee! And I thought: oh yeeeess, me too, I love to write too, and this is rather crucial to enjoying myself.
So that’s where I’m at. I love to write. Yoga makes it work better. So does reading stuff people I respect think is hilarious even when (in part because of when) I struggle with its post-modern opacity. I don’t know that I will ever be dedicated to Bowering, but I can certainly appreciate the chortling I can hear in between his lines. Why not slap your own knee as you write? Who else do you think you are, anyway?
But here: I promised you some found poem context. I’m not in the habit of poetry, so try to be forgiving! Maybe one of these days I will entertain revisions and whatnot.
So I went to this café in Fernwood that is frenetic with DIYers, hippie kids and elders, students, coffee shop manifesto writers, highschool class skippers, single mamas, and other clichés, including moi, the student yogi refilling on bean between bodywork sessions. Oh hai! I had meant to read, but the kids beside me were really right beside me, in brotherly elbow-brushing proximity. I sat on the crowded bench beside them, a girl and a guy sitting opposite across the tiny table next to mine. You can picture it–the coffee shops all seem to be doing it now–the bench along the wall, maybe with cushions, the tiny tables crammed together the length of the bench, each table with a chair facing opposite. My spot on the bench was right next to the girl; I couldn’t see her face. This positioned me and her across the table from the guy, and though I avoided staring smiling at his earnest, wide, and blondely dreaded countenance, my peripheral provided a view. He had that voice that was louder than necessary, just approaching performance, but with a shy waver that said I believe what I’m saying with my whole heart, but I really want you to like me.
The poem is what the guy said to the girl, in order, with nothing omitted. What you don’t see is the moment the girl reaches across the table and takes his hand. She takes his hand (I must assume) to connect with him in a moment of reflection about the shooting at the Occupy demonstration he had attended (must have been Oakland?).
But just at the same second as their skin to skin contact, he lurches from the pause he has been holding for significance, because maybe she’s not getting it, though probably only because he just can’t quite express how intense it really was, and he asks her about herself. And just at that expansive second, the collision of her reciprocal desire to share with him the heaviness of the moment with his willingness to move on from that moment in search of a different approach to take with her produces a burst of enthusiasm that does not know which way to go. He is suddenly so happy and relieved that she has taken his hand, but the timing is off; he has already changed the subject. Something else needs to happen to rescue them both.
She still has his hand. On her wrist (I must assume) is a little cupcake, which he immediately takes for a tattoo, but which must actually be a stamp from a club. So the poem’s crux is him producing this earnest ode to her cupcake, as she sits there laughing at him, as he sits there reacting to their two hands holding each other.