With my attention divided, I sit…
Pen, poised above the page in readiness;
hopeful of a script that would see it fit
the purpose of a quill; and so, impress
its thoughts upon a blank page. It hovers
above the line with nothing yet to write;
the grip of an unsteady hand bothers
the nib; uncertainty – in pensive flight.
In anticipation it contemplates
the possibility of nothingness;
a void in the universe that equates
to unwritten principles – more or less.
. True to word: a pen without instruction,
. finds absurd the point of its production.
To the reader: The physical translation of my poetic thoughts onto paper is through a pen; obviously, a free-flowing versatile pen is preferred. It needs to be an ergonomic pen that sits comfortably in my hand; happy to be twiddled, over-worked and under-paid! All the better, if that pen is well-weighted; designed to manoeuvre and embellish as it imprints letter onto line.
To the poet: Those fancy ostentatious pens that ooze with opulence are far too pretentious to be of any use in drafting. I’ve given them a try. Their notable features demand attention; they want to finish with a flourish and leave indelible marks. Signature pens are dressed for occasion; singular in purpose, unready for sustained action. As a medium, the perfect pen must neither interrupt nor distract from the creative process.
Let go of your dependencies; let go.
Let go of what has gone forever more.
Cut free of insecurities; and so,
lay claim to your capacities. Be sure
that what you have, you have in all good faith;
all good faith, that underwrites the absence
of certainty. Believe in what you have.
Believe in the goodness of good intents.
Take hold of opportunities; take hold,
take hold of that which offers more to come.
Seize the moment; as the nettle. Be bold
in your intent; for pluck outplays a strum.
. Let go of insecurities; and so,
. become an opportunity to grow.
To the reader: To be a free agent assumes a level of independence that few of us have license to acquit. Over time we accrue a host of responsibilities, dependencies and expectations that nail us to the floor. Up and leaving is not so easy. Before departing on a free-spirited journey there are things to do. Leaving behind a trail of unfinished business is hardly inviting a warm welcome upon your return. Sure, let go, but take good care … of things before you leave.
To the poet: Strength of message can be bolted to a sonnet. In this free-flowing lecturette I’ve assembled a few commonly known phrases; then, replaced any expected conjunctive using a generous spray of repetition. The repeated elements, through the creation of emboldened space, establish room for emphasis. I’ve not repeated the message, simply repeated the pattern surrounding it.
“I don’t want no more than my deserve.”
So said the swindler with generous grin.
But he knows, full-well, his ball has a curve;
a rubbery bounce with plenty of spin.
One Man’s Profit – is another man’s pain:
the working title of this swindler’s guide
to self-help manoeuvres that leave no stain;
with ‘cover-up advice’ from the inside:
– cover them tracks as you leave the station.
– cover your backs with an alibied trail.
– cover them assets, spread the location.
– cover your bets either side of the rail.
. Cover your costs on a ticket to ride.
. Help yourself hints for the sneaky and snide.
To the reader: Deception is a disposition not restricted to the human condition. Nature is a master of bluff and mimicry. The management of perception to favour selection and procreation is a vital survival strategy across all species. The swindler (that master of deceit) hoodwinks unsuspecting victims; using a suite of refined but very dubious tactics. Deception is an elaborated lie … a cunning plan; a clever trick!
To the poet: Some poetry works well in sonnet form. The strolling rhythm suits the observation of life in passing: the rise and fall of emotions and the ebb and flow of time’s dispute with destiny. That same pulsing rhythm struggles with simple banter. Being a consistent and truthful rhythm it struggles with contrived hesitation. The application of too many tricks stretches belief and weakens the integrity of a sonnet.
For the most part, routine describes the day.
Business as usual distracts the eye.
Process and procedure keep chance at bay.
Method over madness will justify:
the practical, simple, the tried and true,
reason over passion, temper’s excess;
and so, the day proceeds, unfolds on cue.
Function, not fanfare, the mark of success.
Minimise the risk of excitement’s flare:
small steps, not large, and look before you leap!
Treat the day as hostile, handle with care.
Treat mole-hills as mountains; as far too steep!
. Today’s containment is alive and well,
. With fires to dampen and seas to quell.
To the reader: Work has an inflated ego. This self-appointed, self-anointed, arbiter of time’s worth is a small-minded accountant. Given a badge, this officious miser of minutes scrapes from employment every last morsel of production. The yard-stick is a poorly calibrated measure of busy-ness; units of labour; toil and drudgery. The accountant’s grip on work-for-work’s sake strengthens and with throttling effect motivation is all but exhausted.
To the poet: I’m working on a holiday… aren’t we all? Work’s relationship with rest and play doesn’t have to be adversarial. If work is a drudgery, then the distinction is probably convenient; as in, I’m ‘going to work’ suggesting a dislocation from other creative pursuits. Ideally, work, rest and play are a natural integration of life’s energies; with each contributing to an overall sense of wellbeing.
He stakes his claim and demands position,
stipulates his terms and fixes his spot.
We watch askance, this crude exhibition
of stubbornness; will he, or will he not?
Those around him, about his axel spin,
infantile argument, circular shape,
centrifugal anger fuelled from within.
A storm’s eye, vortex, that’s hard to escape.
He grips tight, pin-points his agitation.
He asserts his temperament; taciturn.
Imploding mood centres his rotation.
With spiralling momentum, so things churn.
. Stubbornness grips to a fixed position,
. and so gives no ground without condition.
To the reader: A child’s public tantrum makes an unpleasant scene; psycho-drama writ-large! With crudely-crafted powers of persuasion the toddler tests the strength of new-found tactics; claiming more independent territory with each event. The assertive-aggressive personality matures into an effective form of attention seeking; one that loses its stamp-of-approval with years beyond five or six. The storm quickly brews, tension builds; fury is released – damage is repaired and peace restored… the toddler is tamed!
To the poet: The public tantrum is no rare occurrence. Little bundles of dynamite regularly ignite; catching those in close-proximity by surprise. With short-wicks these volatile miscreants can derail a train of thought with devastating effect. The passenger-poet is one of many hapless victims. As the wreckage is surveyed, for post-crash forensics, there’s often an unaccounted empty seat … a surrendered supposition.
There are moments when everything makes sense.
For just a second nothing is at odds.
Simplicity abounds, becomes immense;
earns the approval of a thousand gods.
It’s at that moment, between wake and dream,
that all things become imaginable;
all things at once adopt a common theme.
One point of truth becomes conceivable.
Clarity of thought is clean-cut and crisp;
vagaries sharpen so ‘that’ becomes ‘this’;
images emerge, give shape to a wisp;
that which is simple, more beautiful is.
. Where stems the answer to “why is it so?”
. From the essence … in the presence of flow.
To the reader: If you haven’t had your introduction to the works of Dr Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (chick sent me high) you owe it to yourself to make that connection. Through this acquaintance you’ll meet yourself at your potential best. As the theory goes, there are deliberate steps you can take on the way to achieving flow; an essence you learn to channel from within a zone of intense satisfaction with your own condition of contentment… in pursuit of happiness.
To the poet: You can’t bottle flow; it’s a meditative energy, that through active absorption describes a form of fulfilment. My gateway to ‘flow’ is through the comfortable challenge of poetry. Effort, along with challenge, is a necessary ingredient. And so, in the right mix, these energies combine to create a state of self-contained purpose. Flow, by definition, is a dynamic stream of consciousness, coursing its way through mind and soul… in pursuit of happiness.