In an Instant

In an Instant – Oct. 18, 2019

A poem can 
occur
be observed
vanish
in an instant
but a poem
can also take
a moment
an hour, day, week, year
a lifetime
to record
just right
that’s what poetry is
recording
retelling moments
best do it quickly now!

Note: I dont trust my memory. Some have told me it is sharp and accurate. Others have argued it is utterly flawwed. It is likely that they are all correct. That is why nowadays I prefer to travel with my small laptop always near me. My hands are awfully slow to write. The letters take ages to form and look all wrong. Nothing good seems to come when I write with my hands. A lot which should be included is lost, while a lot of what needn’t be there appears. Then there is the difficulty of deciphering the strange shapes later- when my memory, well intentioned as it may be, can only be partially relied upon. I think it is best, whenever possible, to create as soon as the moment strikes you.
I’m a photographer. I think poems, some poems- perhaps my poems, are much like photography. They are often made in the moment, their lenses pointed at the little things, so that the larger things might be brought more into focus.

Coffee Cup Revelation

Coffee Cup Revelation – Oct. 18, 2019

My hand knocked
against a cup of coffee
nearly empty
it rocked
teetering on its edge
threatening to give way
its liquid to spill onto the table
settling back into place
calmness born from chaos
my hand lifted the cup
poured its contents into my mouth
somehow I knew
there was just enough for one swallow
but the coffee remained
contained by the walls of my cheeks
and at the gate of my mouth
how powerful the moment
realizing that which could have been
chaos indeed
nearly became a problem
yet could be contained
given shape- briefly
and eventually vanish
with only the use of my mouth

Oh, the power of a mouth


Note: This is one of those poems, which came to me during the semingly insignificant event of nearly knocking over a cup of coffee, which was nearly empty. I was impressed by the fact that first, there was enough liquid within the cup to weigh it down enough so that it did not tip over. Secondly, I was further surprised when I discovered that the amount that was able to prevent the cup from falling, was enough to fit in my mouth, comfortably. My cheeks were not buldging, threatening to give way and have coffee spray all over the place.

It made me consider the power that the mouth has. Words must pass through the mouth. Air can be brought in by way of the mouth. Affection, in the form of a kiss, or a smile can be expressed by the mouth. In a way, the problem of an unstable situation (the coffee cup) was resolved by way of the mouth, with the hand acting as the necessary agent connecting the two. The whole moment felt like it illustrated a metaphor for conflict resolution. Simple, minimal action (by way of the hand) was used to facilitate a calm, beneficial resolution (consuming the drink).

Why do we Think in Terms of Power?

Why do we Think in Terms of Power? – Oct. 16, 2019

Why do we think in terms of power
when we seek change
More power
more
power
but isn’t change facilitated
through efficient action
so why then
everywhere I look
do I find the struggle for power
power over a relationship
more powerful products
lawsuits
control
isn’t change
supposed to make things better
eventually easier
I think power should not then be the goal
instead we should seek
efficiency
so that change can be made
more easily
with less work
to overcome
struggle
Because that which is altered
is characterized by how it is changed
control is born from power
solutions are born from efficient action


Note: I was vacuuming in my apartment today. I find cleaning to be an enjoyable, theraputic activity. Especially vacuuming. The loud wirring of the machine drowns out the sounds which would otherwise distract me. I get excited when the vacuum head passes over the carpet- bristles spinning, pummeling the carpet so as to shake free the dust, dirt, sand, and anything else that might be embedded in its fibers and the sound of dense particles strike against the plastic housing before being whisked away into the bag.

Today it made me think back to those infomercials on television. The ones that air late at night and last for half on an hour, sometimes longer. Even the brief ones, with their condensed messages seem to convince the viewer that the newer, more powerful product is best. It’s exactly what you need to change that dirty, grimy carpet into a clean- like new surface. More power. Anything else just isn’t good enough. Everything seemed to be about more power. A more powerful motor. A stronger detergent, or cleaning agent. I always found the use of the word “agent” interesting. In a post Cold War time it carries a certain weight.

So many things in America, I suppose the whole world round, seem to be about achieving more power. Power seemed to be what made gaining control of a situation easier, so that you could change things to your liking with greater ease. That all sounds correct, doesn’t it?

However, as I was in the process of handling a machine I guess my mind was thinking about existence differently. I was thinking about the mechanics of it all. In physics power seems to be simply but one factor. Yes, it is essential to solving a problem, but increasing power often has consequences. So what else can be used to bring about a solution to a physical problem other than a mere increase in force? The efficiency in which that force is applied and therefore how the energy of that force is transfered through the situation.

Isn’t that a better thing to focus on? In society I witness such a focus on power. People seem to create situations simply to bring about a power struggle so that there can be a victor and a loser, with the victor determining how things will be changed. Control is the prize. Power, the sought after tool. Yet the victor/loser dynamic often creates an unstable result. People become defensive. They lose trust or become dense, or brittle in their defeat. Systems (or solutions) which seem to focus on efficiency often result in a better balance of power. There is a more consistent transfer of power between components.

Maybe this is what is meant in Taoism- where there is such reverence seen in water, in a ruler whose hand is unknown, in the willingness to relinquish control, and in the notion that only the grasping hand can lose hold of something.


End Note: These days I think in short, sequential bursts. This might be what explains the style or format (if you can call it that) of my poetry. It might be that I have always thought that way. I’m not sure. The poem above may not even be a poem. It could be a sentence or sentences that carry on too long, eschewing grammar and punctuation. I’m not sure I know what makes something a poem. I think my “poems” are mere how my brain takes notes of its own thoughts. All I know is that I can more quickly make record of a thought in the poetic format you see above, than were I to try and write paragrahs. Those only seem to come later.