Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nassau, Bahamas 20.5.93: Carpets of Many Colors and Sinuous Bridges

There are times when a body simply needs to be body, to sit in this south Bahamian wind, fresh off the sea, just a hint of tropical sultriness. To be bathed in wind, each tired pore seeking to open itself to the rushing breeze. And yet how hard to let go of possessive, always jealous and fruitful, intellect, the watcher at the gate of all experience.

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As I look now at my pleasantly bright shirt, with its patches of orange, yellow, rose, aquamarine, all made more luminous by the light of the Bahamian sun which, even filtered through the windows, still searches everything out, I think of a time when I was in high school and wanted a new rug for my bedroom.

I found one in a catalogue, a pastiche of bright colors, a patchwork quilt of color which now I would find hideous but then thought beautiful. I asked for it. My mother said no, the cost was too much. I begged. She ordered the rug. It came, and it was not what I had asked for, but a somber blue rug she had substituted, because it was cheaper.

To think of this makes me think of the pain we all endure growing up, and of how all poetry, all poiesis, is somehow a sinuous bridge from the lamentable pain of existence, to meaning. Poetry is a footbridge thrown over the chasm, the dark abyss—as shaky and tenuous as a rope bridge over an Andean pass. I see it in my mind, the call to let even such a childish hurt as that of the many-colored carpet, be a poem, a reaching over to the infinite from the absurdity of my life, my heart.

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