Monday, March 25, 2013

The Wrists Will Work To Break Your Fall

(Another Poetry Class Immersion Entry.)

Katie Morton
CRW 405
Immersion Journal #5 part II

Sometimes it's incredibly difficult to write about an actual meditation in poetic form, but many of Pardi's poems are reminiscent of stream-of-consciousness stories – and one is even titled “Three Meditations.” It would be safe to say that taking the word 'meditation' not as an actual zen-Buddhism-type practice, but as a deep thought on one particular subject, all poetry can be considered meditation. It is a focus on images, scenes that replay themselves in memory – and I find that to be fascinating. Pardi combines both aspects of the word very well in my opinion, and I find myself wishing that I could do the same without sounding overly abstract. I think it comes down to the actual meditation – how is it perceived with the senses? It's one thing to metaphysically understand a thought, event – even omens – but it's quite another to, as I often do, remember the sound. Or, sight, smell, feel – and so on. The meditation is philosophizing as to why this memory is and the poetry comes from that. It's just so difficult to remember the concrete details when meditation is, in and of itself, mysterious and intangible. Life is so strange sometimes, especially for people like me – born with the third eye open, as they say the least, indeed. There is no concreteness in metaphysics. Hence the term. But all of it – everything I experience in those terms – funnels into my poetry in one way or another. Maybe I'll never be as great at turning meditations into concrete (or at least less vehemently abstract) poems – but I can try. And I will continue to try.
Last week, I tempted fate by asking how my guest teaching experience would go. My Grandma always said that one should never ask questions that they don't want answered. Part of me really didn't want to know – but the nervous part of me asked for peace of mind. I'm happy to report that the experience went well – though it was daunting. I was, at first, scared to death of what was to come. Of if I was good enough at putting to practice what I have learned so that I might help these kids. Turns out I was. After much internal deliberation, I took one of the most helpful yet most difficult activities I had experienced in Fiction II and walked these kids through it. We wrote character bios and then, in pairs, answered interview questions while acting like our characters.
I have to say, I hated this activity in Fiction II this semester. Loathed it. Even skipped the 6-hour Saturday version of this with the guest speaker, Paul Rajeckas. I never liked being center stage. I like to be the person listening – a faux-therapist, the one with advice. It is strange for me to be the person in need of understanding. And as much as I hated the others getting to know my creative process via this activity, I loved being understood for the moment. I would never have admitted that to myself if I hadn't really meditated on what would help me relay what I know about characterization. I would have sat in stubborn silence but for the grating of my teeth pretending that I already knew best.
Truth is I don't. I haven't a clue what needs to happen for me to progress. Pretending that I do and trying to stay in my comfort zone is what brought me face to face with Necessary Chaos to begin with. If Chaos is cutting the tether, then so be it. I will do my best, as I did for this lesson. And oh, I can sense that a wave of changes is about to occur. And I also know that there is no way I can possibly prepare for it in its entirety. I've just got to go with the flow, and let it be as it will be.
My strength, will, determination, and whatnot – qualities that made Chaos smile at me and nod a head in approval before becoming part of my life – must be enough to make it through. Otherwise, where would I be? Probably a cashier in the local grocery store, quiet as I used to be, not progressing a nanometer.
The lesson went well. It taught me a great many things, and when all is said and done, I affected people. I am a memory, and what I said became a lesson that I can only hope one day leads to a success – great or small – for those who use it. In this aspect, I am enough. And this is the first step of a great many. I will reach my goal – but I will not reach them in a linear fashion. Along the way, I must learn – really learn – that nothing is or ever will be as it seems.
This week, I ask: What challenge presents itself to me in the coming week?

“Think of slender hands
for catching, of how hard
the wrists will work to break your fall.

Don't think of being born into flight.

Think, if you can, of grace
and hunger
as the arc of falling

not from but into.” (Pardi pg. 69. Poem: Seventeen Wings)

And again I am forced to admit something I would rather fiercely and steadfastly deny... for this challenge is ever present and something I fight with constantly. It is internal. It is two things. Two things that are not so unrelated as I might think.
The first – speaking up. A fear not of who else will judge me but of me judging me; a nagging thought in the back of my head that says, “What if you're wrong? You may not be enough right now. You possibly may never be enough to speak of this.”
That voice? I have spent so long trying to convince it that it has spoken its piece. It has said enough. I still find my inner monologue so diluted with these grey worries and I work to change them. Every day I work to break the old habits and speak up. It's not easy. But I have come so far since even Freshman year here at college. Since even last semester. I still have to fight because it's still the most difficult of any challenge I've yet faced.
The second – this heartbreak which is the inspiration for my chapbook. As much as poetry helps me to progress through it, I have days where memories of the past refuse to turn themselves into poems. They stick in front of my eyes like I'm watching a movie.
The last time I saw him, we watched “The Hobbit” together. It was dinner and a movie. Call it what you will. But, my parents bought the movie on Bluray this past week and asked me to watch it again with them. And that's how it goes. Memories are triggered and I have to spend time meditating and letting them go. Because my stories, too, are heavy. And I cannot carry them and still expect to progress in my life. This challenge, too, will rise to meet me. It will nod, and smile just as Chaos does. It will prove to me what I am capable of. It always seems daunting. But in this, too – I have come a long way. I am not the late December version of me who wrapped up in her blanket and cried as the radio played relevantly sad songs. I am the one facing my challenges. While there is still love, and thus still heartbreak – there is poetry. There is a certain odd beauty in such madness. There is inspiration in such sorrow. And, there is the want to live and move forward as opposed to exist and stay stuck in old memories. Now those challenges? They are what I fall in to. Being born into flight is expecting something to be exactly as I imagined it. The arc of falling is the realization that life is hardly so simple. The grace is knowing that nothing worth doing or learning is ever easy. The hunger is fighting anyway, impervious to the odds. My wrists will work just as hard as they ever have to break my fall, but regardless I will fall. I have to. It's all part of living and learning.


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