In honor of Gertrude Stein here's the manifesto I wrote last quarter...
Poetry Finds Static
Poetry rides shotgun on a highway going nowhere anyhow. Let’s just get that straight out front. You just want to find a station. Let’s get that straight too. I can’t remember the last time poetry put in. It can tell a story. That is true. But it’s no friend. Don’t make that mistake. Sometimes poetry shakes you to wake you. That is true. Poetry always turns to the station you don’t want to hear no how. Is that true? Poetry never finds it anyway. It gets stuck between stations. Poetry finds static. You can almost hear what it’s trying to say. That is true. But it can drive you mad. That is true too. Two tunes at once. Can poetry be both? What isn’t really? That might be true. Poetry takes its time or no time. Depending. What is poetry but language? What is language but the scenery? The same images shifting perception, each of us interpreting but not really knowing. As if you could. As if it could. What is true? If nothing else, that is. It makes sense to look at poetry this way and that. Drip comes close. Buzz is closer, but that’s about it. Whisper and sizzle and clang too I guess. There are more of course, but no more are needed. Buzz Whisper Sizzle Drip Clang. Drip Whisper Clang Buzz Sizzle. How can that be true? No, true, of course, is meadow horse lake love nightingale God. So true yet it certainly doesn’t seem so. The road is what we decide. Get that straight if nothing. Poetry finds static.
Gertrude Stein said there ain’t no answer. She also said there ain’t gonna be an answer and there never has been an answer. That, she said, is the answer. Poetry is as good an answer as any. Or not. If poetry claims to have the answer it is lying maybe. Maybe not. How do you know? Gertrude Stein says so, that’s how. Poetry finds static. That is the only true thing. Poetry will smoke your last cigarette. It sits beside you or behind you. It sleeps a lot. Poetry can be ahead of you sometimes always anyway. That may be true or not. Don’t ever let poetry drive. For that you’ll be sorry. If you only take one thing away from this or that let it be. Poetry is not dependable. It barely looks at the road ahead anyway. It gawks at the rabbits and the tumbleweeds and the lines behind. It will leave you in the ditch or worse. That is true. Out of gas and out of cash listening to static. Believe it or don’t—it doesn’t matter much anyway. An old, drunk poet said there are worse things than being alone. That may be true. But he didn’t say what. He also said that friendship means sharing the prejudice of experience. That of everything seems true. So maybe poetry is your friend. Remember, it can tell a good story if you let it. You can let it. But you have to be willing to listen to both stations at once.