Learning

February 5th, 2009

I understand in short flashes that I am a beginner. Reading sample poems from a journal I might submit to, I see suddenly the depth my poems are missing. I almost see the way there but then it is gone. It is a glimpse. Like seeing a brook trout that is long gone by the time you start your back-cast.

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If the poems come back with a form letter rejection slip I might understand the rejection but I do not know how to make the poems better.

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It is like holding fog.

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Is there a literary journal devoted to tasteful nostalgia? It seems out of fashion, nostalgia. It is one of the things I do well.

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Now and then I am very good. I do not know why that happens. Is it my effort? Is it the topic? Is it luck? Is it a gift? Is it that sometimes I take a deep enough breath to go deep and other times I do not? Will it happen more often if I climb the mountain and train at high-altitude?

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How do you know when a prose-poem is a prose-poem and not a paragraph?

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My 2009 calendar features pictures of doors and windows. By the time I turn the page to December, will they be open?

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Read, read, read. Lay speechless on the floor for a week, the open pages of books fluttering around me like pigeon wings. Let the words fall on me like feathers. Jump up, send the pigeons swirling, the sun glinting off their oil-slick grey wings. Watch, look, listen, read, write. This is learning.

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I do not know when to stop revising. I could tinker with my poems forever like a teenaged boy with his car up on blocks in the garage who instinctively knows that it is safer to keep his head tucked under the hood than to cruise the strip and call to the girls who might not call back.

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Who will tell me when I am ready?

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I want I want I want.