Friday, September 21, 2018
Wednesday, September 19, 2018
Monday, September 17, 2018
You are a slightly graying slightly paunchy poet on a bicycle in the hours before dawn, riding the city streets under arc lights, steering around potholes, in varying weather. Sometimes coyotes run beside you until they weary or veer off. This isn’t a dream.
You began out of an existential desperation to find meaning, or maybe to lose weight, or to vie for fame in the treacherous academic world: publish or perish. It’s hard to stand out.
So you drop out and climb aboard an ’85 bicycle with a frame size too big for you. Everything, and I mean everything, you might possibly need for the next 30 days goes into a pair of panniers and a seal line bag.
You cannot escape your depression or pedal fast enough to leave yourself behind.
But once in a new town you set up shop. For ten hours a day you compose dreams—an annoying woman at the Poetry Foundation called you out, saying they were in fact poems—you cycle out dreams as if they were miles and then in the early hours of morning you deliver them, 40 – 50 miles per day, every day, because not for one second do your subscribers stop dreaming. Then it’s back to the coffee shop and the keyboard and the sombiescent experience of channeling the dreams of others.
When do you sleep, oh Poet Dreamer?
Check out the work of Mathias Svalina of the Dream Delivery Service. I heard him speak at the Poetry Foundation: Off the Shelf, where he inspired poets and cyclists.
Follow him n Instagram and Twitter—because you literally will exhaust yourself following him
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Memoirous is about memories and using memories to tell stories.
Memories are also unreliable. We unintentionally leave things out or embellish. Sometimes the more accurate memories have the ring of truth to them. What seems to resonate the most are universal experiences where readers can exclaim: Hey! The same thing happened to me!
Sometimes we end up just giving life and words to the mundane and everyday.
A few years back I picked up a small “poetry” book by Kyle White. It isn’t exactly poetry but more a hybrid of observations, comments, essays, criticisms, and poetry. There is line variation. This book is monumental in its scope: Wisconsin.
I know, that line made me laugh too.
It is about bundling up in snowsuits. Walking home with your cheeks stinging. Snot crusting inside your muffler. It is about the horror of returning to a normal schedule after Christmas break.
Kyle White employs everyday memories in crafting Wisconsin: river of grace. Coming from the sister state of Illinois and maybe from just being a kid, I can relate to the book, Hey! The same thing happened to me!
A young boy in his bed, the dark cold mornings, having to get up for school. You feel like you are at a dead end. No hope. Then! You remember the next school holiday: Casimir Pulaski Day!
I also enjoyed the piece about the number of times the writer had been run over—either by bikes or cars, by his family and friends, or taken out back behind the stands and beaten up by a bully. We are left with the writer’s memories as well as our own.
The stuff of life.
Monday, September 10, 2018
Friday, September 7, 2018
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
What I remember most about my Scanlandia bike ride from earlier this summer:
Crossing the mountains
Crossing fjords on ferries
Impossibly high bridges
Moose meat stroganoff
Long, slanty light
Wishing for the sun to come out
Wishing for the sun to go down
Winding down on switchbacks, thinking
this could be the last day of my life
Mostly what I remember is the fear
a knife-edge, precipice-inducing fear
the awful feeling you get
when there are no maps
when no one knows your name
and you speak an entirely different language
the fear that drives you to make a way when there is no way,
a fear that numbs you into submission, to accept
that things might not go right, but no matter what you have to keep going
the kind of fear that creates