I have spent an entire day, more or less, revising a single freaking poem. Okay, in my defense, it is one made up of multiple parts, one that attempts to tell a story, a narrative, in the persona of people in my coal mining hometown. In addition, I’ve had the gremlins that I am certain live inside the bowels of Microsoft Word erase styles, italics, epigraph fonts, etc. more than once this day of typing too many words. So more labor-intensive time sink there as well.
Oh, I did manage to get the trash to the curb, take a walk to the mailbox, indulge in the general moving of my bones while having a look at the gorgeous, three-dimensional November sunset sky. And now the wind (off the Columbia River or off the Pacific Ocean or out of the Columbia River Gorge) is up and I can hear our emperor’s gong, right as rain, bellowing from the garden along with the caterwaul of the neighborhood cats.
I have to accept that today simply became a day to hang with the language itself. And man oh man, I sure feel like I have done the equivalent of the poetic New York Marathon. With, sadly, what to show for it? Has the poem improved? Is the poem any better? Is it intelligible to anyone but me? Does anyone else care? Even want to read it? Are those even questions one can ask these post-modern, anything-goes-including-video-game-names-for-a-poem days? Maybe in my next life, I’ll get to be someone who works as a flight attendant on private jets (oh the stories!) or be Meryl Streep’s dialect coach or a personal assistant for Nicole and Keith. Or Swinton’s go-to girl for haute couture. The possibilities really are endless.
But for now I’m stuck. With the font déjà vu and the cotton-picking, nitpicked words. In these days of so many writers, so few readers. In these days when words are all we have and words are obviously too, too much.