Wednesday, July 22, 2009

feeling the veins of a city in yr hands

it's not like i have a secret identity or nothing. however, most of my non-poet friends don't know that i'm a poet. they all know of my love of poetry, they see me reading poetry books and websites all the time, but still my own life as a writer, well. . .it doesn't come up.

so i was surprised the other day when my very good friend p. asked me why i don't write about our city. i'm a good walker and i travel thru the central core everyday to and from my day job. i meet characters and they meet me. just yesterday, again walking thru cesar chavez plaza, a homeless women shouted, sir! hi there sir! and waved a friendly greeting. i do think i've got some sort of reputation among street people since they see me all the time, and probably think, there goes that grey-haired dude again, richard gere.

i have written about my city, i think, in my poems. at any rate, i've long thought that van gogh's notion of being a stranger on earth hits the mark of my life, perhaps all artist lives, even maybe all lives period. i've never taken issue with being a tourist. being a tourist sharpens the senses. things and situations locals take for granted are experienced by the tourist in sharp relief. one can feel alive wandering the streets of a new city.

which is what i try, sometimes, but oftentimes fail at, to do as i walk thru my own town. i have my routine route but i try to mix it up and as i walk i try to stay awake and keep my eye open. should i start to write directy about my travels is up in the air. lately i've been reading expatriate oz poety ryan scott's travel blog closely observed train stations with interest. scott writes about prague like a tourist but with much local flavor because it is the place he calls home. i should like to do what scott does about my own travels thru my particular locales. if i decided to write directly about my the place i call home.

but i don't know. i do know that much of my walking ends up in poems. i also know that when i become depressed about my writing and think about laying fallow for a bit i still think about writing. and i do know that the phrase 'i don't know' has become center in the poetics of my writing but also the poetics of my living experience. i'd rather sometimes close my eyes to hear obi-wan kenobi whisper, feel the force, luke. but i know also that to feel the veins of a city in my hands i have to learn to fall, stand up, and do it over again.


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