No fair

I feel like any day now you’ll write a note
to say forget all that deepest regrets
etc. etc. 
and while reading it I’ll be seized
no I mean literally from behind
by the hair

and it’s the one I meant to all along
it’s the one apostle they always thought
would give in someday
it’s that one buck someone saw
back when summer no fair shooting
twelve points

I mean to say you know what I mean
but since we’ve both forgotten
why not drive
out into the country where the hills
make you slightly sick riding over them
and ride, over them


Yes I blatantly more or less stole the structure of this poem from John Berryman who JOHN BERRYMAN. Sometimes when I read the work of poets I really love it hurts, literally. Not in a jealous way but just, I don’t know. Aesthetic pain. Goodness hurts. You know what I mean, right? Is it just me? Please tell me it’s not just me. 

This is why it sometimes takes me longer to finish reading books of poetry I love than books of poetry I’m meh about. I’ve been known to take two years to finish a book of poetry I really love because I can’t read more than a page without feeling like I’m having a heart attack. Heavy feeling in chest, shortness of breath. Not that that would be a bad way to go. Death by poetry. Just not yet, oh no, too much to write, too little time, too much love.

11 thoughts on “No fair

  1. oh. no. it’s not just you. I have books like that. sometimes I wonder which will arrive first. the end of me or the end of the book. I’m not sure I could bear the end of the book. I’m reasonably sure I will bear the end of me. at least on this planet. as I am now.

    aloha red dragonfly. I have a book right now sitting on a low wicker table. I bought it in the library bookstore a week or two ago. 50 cents. there are only a few words on each page. yet I cannot go on in it yet. I may be not quite half way through it. just seeing it there is a beautiness I cannot enter, again. yet. yet knowing it is there aches beautifully enough. to enter it again too soon would be too much. how does someone let a book like this go? a short way away another book from that same place. I’ve only entered into a few pages. it’s thicker and the poetry is longer, and the pages are falling out. yet each poem stops me. just short of my inner heart stopping. I cannot go on in it yet either. it has been there for over a year now. and it is not just poetry books that are this way. some art books do this too me too.

    thank you for helping me to understand this. and why this happens to me.

    it has never bothered me particularly that there are books like this that do this to me. life, my life just is the way it is. there are many things around me that have this beauty as well. sometimes they are far from me too. sometimes they are people who understand and express what I feel and know and experience yet i do not understand how to place words around any of that.

    thank you again for wording what I’ve never been able to word.

    no. you are not the only one.

    death by poetry. I may choose that one now rather than fear the ones I do not want. I like that.

    aloha r.

    • yeah, I get the same thing in art museums too. The last time I was in one (in Detroit last fall) I stood in front of several of the paintings and sobbed uncontrollably. I tried to do it quietly and unobtrusively but it was a little embarrassing anyway. try as I might I haven’t figured out how to do away with inconvenient feelings.

      • I no longer try to do away with those overwhelming eye ducts or feelings. I am however close to master status with silent flowing. yes art museums too. and years and years ago, in Florence Italy (I did Europe alone for 8 months self guided art, museum, cathedral journeying where my habit was to enter a city find where I’d stay by knowing my options from the train station and then set out—always on foot other than trains between cities and villages) I’d set out once I had my place to stay immediately with no map to just wander. I came to the cathedral from a small back road/alley. I was stunned when the plaza opened up to me. eventually I entered the cathedral and could not go further than about the back 2-3 pew rows. I sat and the tears flowed in controlled for I have no idea how long. I was dried out tho. I left. I came back on other days and tears again. little by little I saw and explored the cathedral. that happened in other places and times as well, but tyT one was potent. and I’d been traveling for 4-5 months by then.

        I’m no longer embarrassed by it. others with me may be, but no one I know can stay with me for the lengths of time I need with art places. so I’m alone most of the time when this happens. a view of a valley can do this too. the thought of my mother and now my father too can do this, childhood memories can do this. all different things but it’s clear to me I have overwhelming emotions, feelings and intensity. people tell me I’m passionate and I wonder what the heck that is?? I’m only the way I am because this is how I am.

        I’ve known I am “sensitive” for years too. sensitivity is the strength and weakness of an artist imo. so I try to focus on the strength aspect.

        a friend calls people like us “sensitives” in a good way. and I agree.

        one last thing I’ve learned. often I front of art and beauty when the eye ducts overflow I can smile. big. because it is often the beauty (altho that can be mixed with sadness and sorrow and pain and loneliness too) yet the beauty in these things is still beautiful. and when I can find that. and know that. it’s easy to smile. big. when that eye water flows. and when others see a smile with the eye water they often see beauty rather thank pity or embarrassment or anything else and they go off with either a small smile too or with at least seeing that there is in this stuff someplace a beauty too.

        sorry for the typos I’m on the iPad and it’s too hard to go back and correct or edit. so I hope you can make what I meant out. I apologize for the ramble too if it’s too long or tmi too. fun tho. yay eye water. yay sesitives. yay beauty too. aloha

  2. it’s not just you, o no. my most beloved poetry books, almost never finished. although I’m doing better reading Anne Carson’s books, lately. John Berryman, on high & forgotten mostly.

  3. so glad you are back Red Dragonfly….. i am with you, the pleasure of reading words so beautifully arranged that they bring you to full stop.

  4. Yes. This is so true. So well said…there are some books of poetry that bring one to spiritual ruin, the house of the self burns down, the work must be endured and lived with…James Wright does this to me, Chia Tao and Ted Kooser work the same magic…There is pain but the pain is transmuted into something beautiful…the scales are balanced…Chiyo has this gift. Issa as well.


  5. There is an affliction among travelers in Europe who frequent art museums. I don’t know what it’s called, if it even has a name, but they become overwhelmed by the sheer number of masterpieces the’ve been exposed to. Some need to sit down. Some are hospitalized. I didn’t believe it until I saw it with my own eyes at The Uffizi in Florence. It was the 80s. I was young and caught up with the drama of life. Caravaggio has that affect on people.

    Of course, your words have a similar killing effect. Thanks, I think.

  6. Pingback: What’s goin’ on | Red Dragonfly

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