Stories and poems

"The metaphoric image of 'orphan lines' is a contrivance of the detached onlooker to whom the verbal art of continuous correspondences remains aesthetically alien. Orphan lines in poetry of pervasive parallels are a contradiction in terms, since whatever the status of a line, all its structure and functions are indissolubly interlaced with the near and distant verbal environment, and the task of linguistic analysis is to disclose the levels of this coaction. When seen from the inside of the parallelistic system, the supposed orphanhood, like any other componential status, turns into a network of multifarious compelling affinities.'
Roman JAKOBSON, "Grammatical Parallelism and its Russian Facet", Language, 42/2, 1966, pp. 399-429, p. 428-429

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Monument in Cordoba to Ibn Zaydûn and Princess Wallada
September has slipped away in a sunny haze, end of summer, busyness and bees. Some goals were achieved. I have found some work to keep me writing through the end of the year, now I just have to get back to the writing. Interestingly enough, I'm helping various children write, which allows me to tap into my own desire to write. I wonder at that easy creativity children have, which goes along, I think, with a refreshing and spontaneous naivety. Afterwards, leaving the tutoring session on my bike, I let myself laugh.

I went to a poetry group, which was also refreshing, and gave some air to my poetic thoughts. It made me want to write more. Words and words and words, en boucle; it helps, as though I could put myself in a room of words and wrap myself up tightly there, and stay, and stare, but not alone. Exchange around writing is a necessity, and words engender words, in the presence of others, please. But how does that suit our idea of authorial invention and the private property of the written word? I think it's poppy-cock, and that my poetry is never mine. That's not to say though that I wouldn't want to call what I write here mine, because it is. There's a conundrum: how creativity can be so completely from somewhere else yet pass through this body, at this time.When writing, or singing, there is like a breath which comes from behind and passes through the exact center of the head, then out of the mouth, or the hand. One knows not from whence it comes. Other poets have called it inspiration, or personified it in the figure of the muse.

I wrote a poem once on being my own muse: 

On being my own muse

I would no longer need the body of another to feed my words if I could write like wrapping myself in seamless white linen, having woven the fabric, etching words with thread, tying the knots that keep me in.

Ultimately, I think this poem  is about a desire for self-sufficiency, not separateness. The idea is that the words keep me in, define me, and that their source is within, they don't come from the outside, the result of some exterior passion or pain. I think it's about the wish for the source of poetry to be interior joy, even though the image is quite morbid. In this poem I also see a funeral shroud. I see the death of the poet. 

A medieval writer and princess from Cordoba named Wallada Bin Al Mustafki had her poems embroidered on her robes. She wore them in the street. She also had many lovers and her passions inspired her writing. This is apparently what those embroidered verses said:

For the sake of Allah!  I deserve nothing less than glory 
I hold my head high and go my way
I will give my cheek to my lover
and my kisses to anyone I choose. 

I think she was her own muse.

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