Tuesday, January 29, 2008

the desire for ink is inexplicable. it is similar i suppose to the obsessions of a life in poetry. without hammering out the comparisons of the two separate arts, there lies a relationship with the need to mark the flesh in imagery and the compulsion to mark the world in systems of signifiers. both types of obsessions are addicting. it is not uncommon for a young man or woman to take up the pen, then put it down in the midst of life, only to pick it back up later in life and begin writing as if for the first time. the same perhaps goes for ink.

at least for some people. at least it is for me.

i'm not the only one in my obsessions. here's my favorite poet thom gunn on the matter.

'Blackie, the Electric Rembrandt'

We watch through the shop-front window while
Blackie draws stars -- an equal

concentration on his and
the youngter's faces. The hand

is steady and accurate;
but the boy does not see it

for his eyes follow the point
that touches (quick, dark movement!)

a virginal arm beneath
his rolled sleeve: he holds his breath.

. . .Now that it is finished, he
hands a few bills to Blackie

and leaves with a bandage on
his arm, under which gleam ten

stars, hanging in a blue thick
cluster. Now he is starlike.
i understand gunn got his panther by the famous lyle tuttle but i don't know when. the poem above is from the 1961 collection My Sad Captains.


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