A Poet’s Perspective on His Art

The fundamental reason as to why I have never attempted to settle down and write a novel is because it involves a sustained relationship on the author’s part to the construction of a continuous narrative flow and the development of character and plot that I could not in the least attempt. I believe that the world of fiction is one in which the author is continuously engaged in the reality of not only his own imagination but also that of the physical world as well. As a poet I do not find myself engaged with such intensity in the world outside of my inner being nor do I find myself preoccupied with characters peopling my imagination. Rather, I am constantly under the storm and stress of forces of a philosophical and emotional bent, which, if I desired and tried, I could embody in fictional or poetic characters. I have created characters in several of my poems, and voiced emotions and ideas which I have experienced in the guise and voice of these characters, but for me, poetry is born not of a solid relationship with the world around me, but from my response to the world and to my own personal self and relationships.

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Poetry is spoken and shaped, recorded and voiced, from within a vacuum, from within a space that is naturally set off from the rest of the world. I believe poets are the most reclusive of artists and by the very condition of this circumstance, they are also the most socially awkward and stunted by having to be part of and participate in the real world when it is absolutely necessary. For most poets who write with the voice of one crying in the wilderness of the solitude in which they must exist to create their art, their world is internally empty, a silence reigns in which a poem is being conceived and only when the poem is just short of reaching the state of full gestation and ready to be penned and expelled, will the first words or verses bubble up to the surface and like a thunder-crack in the dead of night startle the poet into the recognition that another poem is about to be born.

Poetry, when being formed, provides me with a space both emotional and mental and is physically entombed within my mind until it is put down on paper. It is in this space in which I am fully, wholly, and completely myself; I am cut off from Time and the space around me recedes into an invisible chasm. I myself embody a space wherein there is only fluidity of thought and feeling, and the only means of expression for these ideas and emotions, the ambiguity and ambivalence of language, is the form and substance of poetry. Since my teenage years poetry is the only tongue I have chosen to use to embrace my true selfhood and to represent that selfhood to the world. I often write critical essays, but the focus in these is on exposing fallacies and hypocrisy, as well as examining truths that my philosophical reflections have led me to; these essays are usually more focused on educating the masses rather than exploring my self as a writer or human being.

Since I am sexually deviant in being homosexual and even more sexually aberrant by being relatively asexual, writing poetry is the only space in which I can even remotely give voice and expression to the primal, natural urges of intimacy, desire, and release I so ardently and often crave between my own and another man’s body. In the act of writing poetry I know and feel nothing but the ecstasy and burden of giving life and breath to a new form, a new shape, which is found in the act of creation and giving birth. And even so, I feel the emptiness after the joy and pain of being impregnated for so long with the fullness of life, after the nurturing of this shapeless, nameless thing, and of having to let it go, having to endure the loss of a part of myself that is better off out in the world than it is inside of me. I believe that if I were a sexual being who was continuously desired by someone else and engaged in gratifying my own and a lover’s sexual desires, I would not be a poet, I would have no unshaped, fluid identity that was conceived and constructed through the language and imagery of my poetry. If I were wholly sexually active, I would be given over to the inherent enslavement of satisfying the repetitive sexual urges and hunger that Nature implants in all human beings, who are, at base, mere animals. This would lead me to a constant need to be in the physical world, the natural world of sex and desire, to feel whole and complete, like I have a self and an identity, which is dependent then on the intimacy of relations with others. This would lead me to a loss of personal identity. In a sense, I am William Blake’s Thel, who will not take part in the sexual nature of things so as to become a mother and give living, breathing life to the world. Poetry, as I stated above, is the literalizing of my selfhood; it is my identity. I fear that if I stop writing poetry I will lose my self, my only identity as a poet. By engaging in sex, I will become like everyone around me and lose the purpose of my life, which is writing poetry. I will no longer see myself in the mirror. There will only be darkness and silence in the space in which I live, and the poetry will die, with no chance of being brought back to life again.

I believe that poetry has constructed my identity and that by my very nature I am a Romantic poet; a philosophical journeyer with mystic roots and decadent leanings that often lead me to suffering the loneliness of the existential void and the modernist tendencies of questioning the very nature and existence of the self. I am the poetry I write; even when it is not about me, it is still my very own essence being distilled in the tepid waters of the language that lines the page. My poetry is the autobiography of different parts of me, different moments of the heaviness and lightness of my being, different moments of self and selflessness.

My poetry is the symbol of my fear of letting my sexuality own my life and losing my ego in the pleasure of sexual abandonment. My poetry is the sign and revelation of my narcissism embodied in my identity as a poet, of the sacrifice I have taken upon my shoulders not to participate in the most fundamental aspect of life in finding pleasure and despair, repetition and humorous embarrassment, in the play of sexual intimacy and the relinquishment of control over desire in the sexual act and its subsequent release. All of this for the sake of creating art, of writing poetry, of constructing an identity through language which would be more natural, lasting, not to mention physically solid, if I were to become a sexual being like all those I see around me in those moments when I am forced to put my reclusive behavior aside and participate in the real world.

Originally published on Mind Piff, July 2012.

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