so much dependsupona fragmeantwanting to besomethingwanting to beanything
lol just kidding. but like, actually not…? how does a poem get started? so much depends.
what i can say, though, having recently returned from a writing retreat and immersing myself in writing like never before, is that i have learned that i am a poet of my hands in a way i never fully realized. don’t get me wrong, i love writing lyric poetry. but i also need to get my hands in the work. i need to balance poetic lines with handicraft: creating visual poems and collages that let me work with material objects. feel and test how they move, bend, break. the delicate and at times frustrating labour. the tactile investigation. how things are the way they are andor ask for something different than what’s been given them. maybe it’s my blue-collar background—i come from a family of very capable and knowing hands. maybe it’s my attention span. maybe it’s that writing page-bound lines sometimes kinda scares the shit out of me and sometimes i need reprieve, escape.
so on any given day, a poem might begin with a thread (literally) or a thread (figuratively). so much depends on how i’m feeling or what i need. sometimes I need to stick with an image or idea and see it through on the page. i love the careful strength of the line, whether finely wrought and bold or open and unsure. i love writing alongside the people i’m reading. i love how an idea or a fact or a feeling can become something bigger than itself or stay cozily within its bounds. the waves of intensity and floaty head fog and satisfaction of having written. the way you can write yourself out of what you need to or else write yourself in.
writing words and lines can be gorgeously sustaining. but sometimes i need the page to be everything it’s not. i love sewing and stitching paper. i love dry transfer lettering. i love the humility of working non-heroically, of being at the mercy of whatever delicate thing under my hand wills. i am a person easily overwhelmed by thought, by perfection, by the world at large. working with my hands quiets me down, gets me out of my head, lets me refocus. that tear that humbles. that stitch that doesn’t sit quite the way i intended. those cracked letters.
sometimes i need out of words, out of pages, or sometimes i need in them more deeply. sometimes i need to open words up and see their guts. to parse the language of the page: its edges, seams, tears, sutures. sometimes i need to unseat the surety of things by breaking them down. sometimes destruction is necessary. sometimes putting things back together is necessary. re-membering. i don’t know. i’m not sure. but it’s okay. so much depends.