These past few weeks the excitement, stress, worry over my book has segued into stress, worry and lament for Palestine. Some moments I can hardly negotiate myself so used to the total absorption in my artistic world as I am, with the hard realities of the present world so much in glaring urgent evidence.
This morning I reached for one of my books of poetry by Pablo Neruda and found this poem which I admit to have never read before, a poem written in the year of my birth. A poem like the distant familiar tolls of a bell in the next county over or the bark of a solitary dog in the dark-nighted forest of some deep glen, drawing me in and conjuring memory.
And it was at that age…Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.
I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.
And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.
“Currus bovem trahit Praepostere” [Put the cart before the horse]
It seems I have always done things out of order. I purchased my first car before knowing how to drive, I bought DVDs before I had a player. In Paris, in 1994, Merchant/Ivory asked if I was an actor before I was one (I lied and said I was then quickly scurried to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art). Looking at a vintage typewriter yesterday, it reminded me that four years ago I purchased this Hermes 3000 only because Jack Kerouac used it to write. It dawned on me only today that this was yet another one of my feverish conjurings; two years before I would return to writing it seems that I was, once again and from the outside in, making the preparations, cajoling my molecules into some sort of regimental alignment, willing the spirit’s ether into solid form from the amorphous penumbra of mere wish and dream. The word ‘preposterous’ entered the English language to describe things that were out of order: the ‘post’ before the ‘pre’. I say judge not what seems to be ‘preposterous’ as it never ceases to show me that it is the ‘stuff as dreams are made on.”
A Confederacy of Joy, Carl Jung, creative writing, creativity, Don Draper, gratitude, Juan-Paolo Perre, life, Mad Men, meaningful coincidence, poem, poems, poet, poetry, poetry collection, psychology, siena press, synchronicity, universe, words, writer, writing
I have been in the thick of things attending as best I can with the release of my first collection of poetry (“A Confederacy of Joy”). It’s daunting, tiring and often times discouraging the amount of things I feel helpless accomplishing towards that end. I forge ahead and do the best I can to abate the inevitable stress and worry but sometimes you just need to distance yourself for brief periods; empty your head – attend to other things.
Tonight, I did just that. I decided last week to finally start watching “Mad Men” so I turned the ignition and adjusted the rabbit ears tuning my tele to Netflix. I took a break and watched the final episode of series 1 entitled, “The Wheel”. Toward the end of the episode I was stunned to hear a poignant speech delivered by Don Draper to the executives of Kodak regarding their product, the slide projector. In the speech he recounts an old mentor’s advice and the word “nostalgia” and its meaning’s origins in Greek.
This stunned me because last year I was so moved to learn the origin of the word that I wrote a poem, “Nostalgia or the Return of Suffering”.
What gave this such import was the fact that for several years I have been honing my awareness and in particular the occurrences of meaningful coincidences or synchronicity, the term coined by noted psychologist Carl Jung and the manner in which it seems to align with and support the paths we do or dare to take in our lives (in my estimation).
I took it as a powerful wink or warm acknowledgement from the Universe to keep me going on my path with the book and with my writing in general.
Here, below, are the pages of both the script and my poem.
Here’s the complete poem, “Put These Words Into Practice”, with the quote I chose for my upcoming book of poetry, “A Confederacy of Joy”.
The poem was inspired by my trying to leave things that can’t be changed in the past and resisting the worry and stress of a future that really doesn’t exist and once I did, the joy I experienced – like some great secret or mystic discovery. I imagined that the whole universe fell into alignment, became my ally and welcomed me into a cosmic army of benevolence and well-being.
The quote from my poem, “Put These Words Into Practice” that inspired the title of my upcoming poetry collection, “A Confederacy of Joy”