Monday, December 18, 2006


I'm writing a book of poems and prose grounded in whatever sand I can kick up here in Iraq. I'm calling it conveyance, after having run through an endless number of other more complicated titles, a few of which required more than a normal man's lung capacity for breath. And after failing to find a dictionary listing convoyance as a legit word.

I recently read a poem by a man, C. K. Williams, to whom I'm just now becoming acquainted, or rather three poems, composed about and around a close friend's death.

It is so easy to never develop an intimacy with someone. There are so many sly ways to never get involved. Particularly for painters and poets or poets and poets, or poets and any sort of artistic contemplating sort.

In Williams' poem (Elegy for an Artist), there is pain from loss. That is a thing dug up out of more than just contemplations about beauty, sharing ideas about the conditions of the soul, and taking meditative walks around the sticks and stones of one or the other's sun baked Arizona ranch.

I see suddenly how scared I am of several friends I have. And they are those having the most in common with the side of me that dreams and writes and sits only to think and watch for hours. For hours, man! I sit and do nothing for hours!

I have always felt a distance between myself and these friends I share the most with. And I always explained it to myself in ways. It wasn't true.

Suddenly I see that it's because I am scared. I am scared of the part of me that would wait for years for a girl who tells me good bye and moves across the country, believing that because I am in love the pieces of the world will fall into place.

I am scared of the part of me that revels in a hazy mirage or spirit underside of words, talking forever about the glory, the glory! and writing poems about nature that only eight or twelve people could ever enjoy. Most of those people died during the romantic era too, when it was still in vogue to write poems about nature.

I am afraid of the part of myself that would run headlong through woods like a crazy Indian, rushed at the thrill of my burning chest and racing heart... burning to bridge the gap between philosophy and my dexterous limbs and body, burning to let ideas mean something to me personally, to have conversations with dead people, brilliant dead people, and to believe in ideas, to turn ideas into things others can believe in.

Those are my friends. I am afraid if we were to share ourselves with each other we would be set too free, too recklessly free in our naivety.

Our words, our ideas, our interests or proclivities, they do not build intimacy. We can share all manner of conveyances with another person, and all manner of means for conveyance. But what we actually carry in those words and ideas, the substance, must be things that make us depend on another person more, or else we are just busy creating jobs for private contractors that otherwise could pack up and go home to be with their families, raising the unemployment rate by a quarter percent.

We do that sort of thing. We are afraid of idleness. And then we are afraid of dependency.

I guess that's what makes suspicion so marketable of unnecessary escalation of a war. We will talk and talk to unravel the most profound things, all so that we are ourselves talking and not unraveling.


Blogger Justin said...

The Lord will not forsake those who seek Him. He is faithful to his broken sheep.

7:14 PM  
Blogger Justin said...

And since that had little to do with you, but more with the glory that I felt in reading your words, I will add this: it is hard to be a friend, and to realize dependence. But God is faithful. He is leading me by the hand. I can see it now. He has promised me that after this I will be able to turn my lamp elsewhere than my own interior rooms. I will be able to look at someone. It is difficult now.

7:21 PM  

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