Cursing and The Slow Pull of Quicksand

Still working on the grant application. And kind of caught in a maelstrøm of insecurities. I keep wondering when I will reach the other end of this “crisis”, or just learn to give into it. All my coping mechanisms seem to come with their own pitfalls and red herrings.

Maybe it is silly to try to make sense of all the clues. I fail miserably at those IQ tests where you are presented with a row of numbers and then asked to pick the next logical number. But give me a series of random social interactions and I will find a pattern, predict a relationship, judge motivations.

But that is what poets do, right? Find meaning in random connections? I have always been fascinated by the roles of truth and fiction in poetry. The juxtaposition of perspectives that throws everything we know into question. That’s the entire point, right? Shake it up. Surprise me.

I know Horace said poets should inform and delight, but that is School House Rock in my book. I want poetry that invites me into an exploration with no lesson waiting at the end. Honestly, I guess this view of poetry is rooted in my anti-authoritarian core. I am pretty sure there is a test that labels me as having a disagreeable personality. But “Who says?” and “How so?” are important questions.

And there is: “This, too.” And “Then there’s this…” There are more than 13 ways to look at anything. If we can allow ourselves to let go and do so.

I read that when you are stuck in quicksand, it isn’t really as dangerous as we are led to believe. Apparently, the key is to spread yourself wide and keep moving, gently, to allow the sand to move into the open spaces, to lift you bit by bit up and to the surface.

Yesterday E. cursed while we were on our way to work. He never curses. He apologized. To me: someone whose everyday speech has been peppered with curses for the past two years. Sometimes words, sometimes fully expressed incantations. I have been anything but gentle, and the fact hit me hard yesterday in the car listening to his apology.

There is good here.

This, too. I need 13 ways of looking at the day today.

(But one of them will definitely involve a curse.)

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  1. This is what gets me – most people seem to think that poetry is just a versification of the truth, when in fact it can be just as invented as prose fiction. It’s the meaning that counts, not its provenance.