I like this song

sorabji.com: Is it art?: I like this song

By Rhiannon on Friday, December 17, 1999 - 03:42 am:

    Your skin is my life
    Your breath is my oxygen
    Your skin is my disease
    Your breath is my life

    And when I rise I do not rise
    And when I fall I do not fall
    And when I sleep I do not sleep
    And when I wake I do not wake

    And when that dog comes round the track
    I shine my teeth
    I shine my teeth
    And I prepare for the feast

    And when I crawl
    I just crawl to your door

    --S. McCloud

    I'm actually listening to Mahalia Jackson sing "How I Got Over" at this very moment. I need her voice to keep me awake.

    I thought this a long time ago but I didn't want to tell anyone for fear they'd steal my idea from me. But HEY! I'll tell ya! If I ever write my memoirs, I'm calling them "How I Got Over." No one else is allowed to use that title. It is mine. And if someone's beat me to it... they can kiss my ass, it's still mine.

By Rhiannon on Wednesday, March 29, 2000 - 03:07 pm:

    I have to share this with someone. I am so happy right now.

    I take an independent study in creative writing. The independent study involves me turning something into my professor's mailbox by Wednesday at noon and then meeting with her at 4 pm to talk about what I've written. I didn't have to have a weekly deadline for things, but I knew that if I didn't have one I would never write because I am a lazy ass. It's good to be up front with such things.

    Another thing about the independent study: It's up to me to decide the syllabus. I decided at the beginning of the semester that I wanted to learn new ways of expression. I wanted to write in voices that I had never used. I planned to use one of my favorite poets, W.S. Merwin, as my guide, because he writes in a very unusual, opaque style that I envy. I struggled with two pieces in his voice and gave up after I put lots of effort into them and they collapsed into garbage.

    So I abandoned the Merwin-worship and decided to try something new. For the past two months, I have been working on a short story-type thing. I can't write conventional stories worth a damn. So there's no narrative, and the thing is made up of little fragments of writing that may seem tangential until you read the whole thing and figure out what's going on. It's been slow coming. The most important fragment of the story is something I just can't bring myself to write because I'm afraid I'll ruin it. This last fragment is the only thing I have to write and then my story will be complete.

    So of course I chickened out this week. I was all set to start work on that fragment...putting it off later and later...until last night at 11 I finally admitted to myself that I was not going to write it by today.

    This morning I awoke at 7:30 to the sounds of the construction being done on the sidewalk outside my window. Strangely enough, I was very alert, even though it's usually an effort to get up at 9.

    I was just lying in bed, thinking about things, and the more I thought, the more I realized I was onto something. So I pulled out my notebook and started writing. And I did what I have always wanted to do. I channelled W.S. Merwin.

    Even better, I'm really happy with the poem. It very quietly and simply addresses something I've always tried to write about and failed because of the melodrama. No melodrama here. So it's a victory on two fronts. And won before 8:30 in the morning.

By semillama on Wednesday, March 29, 2000 - 08:21 pm:

    Care to share?

By Rhiannon on Wednesday, March 29, 2000 - 08:43 pm:

    Lemme think about it.

By Rhiannon on Wednesday, March 29, 2000 - 08:49 pm:


By semillama on Thursday, March 30, 2000 - 12:56 pm:


By Rhiannon on Thursday, March 30, 2000 - 01:56 pm:

    Hee hee!

By Spider on Wednesday, November 13, 2002 - 03:04 pm:

    I remember that poem. I borrowed a line by Jenny Holzer for the last verse.

    "There are bodies lying in the grass everywhere, and some are murdered and some are picnicking."

    One of the lines in the poem was

    No one knows
    about the construction workers
    because they live only
    in my stomach.

    or something like that, and my professor simply could not accept that line. She hated it. I think that was the point at which I recognized that I couldn't rely on her as a guide any longer.

    She claimed to know and love W.S. Merwin, but she couldn't read his poetry (and by extension, my poem in his style) in anything other than a very literal way, and for God's sake, you just have to read a line or two of his to know that's not going to get you very far.

    "How can construction workers live in your stomach? Explain."

    If she grokked my poem at all, she would have seen that it was about illness and self-transformation through recovery. And if she knew anything about Merwin, she would know that he works in a stream-of-consciousness process. So the construction workers came into my head when I heard them working outside my window in the morning in real life, and I used that image to reference self-repair and located them in my stomach because A) I get vicious stomach-aches when I'm anxious or depressed, and B) you know, you say "sick to my stomach" when you feel sick, right? You don't say "sick to my kidneys," do ya?

    Like, DUH.

    This was a marginally important line in the poem and my professor got so hung up on the surface of it that she failed to notice that I had totally nailed my goal.


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