Tuesday, January 17, 2006


I feel like a short-circuited robot right now: touched, confused, befuddled, moved. I read both of your e-mails and that mind-blowing poem you sent me the link to. And there are so many things that I want to say that I feel overwhelmed and am afraid I won't be saying any of them. Sometimes I think that's why I'm so quiet in recent times, so silent. It's that tragic bent of mine, that perfectionist one: the dilemma of a robot in an imperfect world. I would rather say nothing than say something and finding it to be inadequate. But I'm going to just go ahead and say whatever comes to my head, risking that it'll be less than perfect.

When I read your first e-mail, I wanted to say, No, poetry is the same for both of us. For I fear that I don't really understand how it could be different for two people. But of course it is. Perhaps what agitated me most is that I can understand it being different for someone whose poetry I don't relate to as much; but when it comes to poetry that I can relate to so strongly and am moved by so profoundly as yours, I want it to mean the same. But it doesn't. I guess I am just saying what you said so much more eloquently in your introduction to PoemTree.

And then I read your second e-mail, and I could see the evidence of your fascination with robots, but not the reason. See, I am a humanist at heart (or would like to think of myself as one), and therefore I can't really feel any sympathy for robots except by anthropomorphing them. And I sense in your fascination with them a certain disappointment with humanity (Am I mistaken?). And that I can understand (for what is humanity if not profoundly disappointing, and therefore touching?). But I kind of wanted to hear that...

And then your poem... which moved me so much I'm going to have the hardest time writing anything about it. Have you noticed that I have a hard time leaving comments? I have the hardest time commenting on poetry. It moves me so much, but then I don't know how to put my reaction into words. Most of the time I justify it to myself by saying, Well, why should I put it into words? Some things just aren't meant to be put into words. But then I know how touched I am when others (like yourself) do that for me (and for that I thank you, very much). Well, here I am, out of words...

See, I am afraid of dissecting poetry. I know it is not sacred, but I am just averse to doing it. I know, one might be able to write better poetry if one is to dissect it and all, but I just don't know... How did you study poetry? How does that work? Isn't it too much like disembowelment and then studying your entrails? See, I have this perhaps archaic notion of poetry, where one is just "inspired" (whatever that means, and which is quite fickle). Like I can never imagine myself making a living out of poetry (I would never want to be commissioned to write it, for example). That is not so say that I am any good (I'd like to think that I am, but sometimes I'm not so sure. I think I am getting better--not very linearly, but generally. And that is a kind of reassurance.) But I know that you are very good. And I don't think it's because you studied poetry; I just think you've got it in you. Like, I loved reading your poem, but then I hated reading the comments. It's like, I would edit my poetry (though I have a hard time at it), but would have an even harder time dealing with someone else's editing suggestions (which I know is very bad). Still, I guess I can maintain that by insisting on poetry as a hobby, on that "artistic license". See, in a way... You know, I think I want poetry to do too many things for me; I am afraid I am asking too much of it. Do you know that Western episode of Tom & Jerry where Tom is shot repeatedly and then he tries drinking from a ladle and he starts spouting like a fountain? Sometimes I feel like that and that I am trying to plug the holes with little cotton swabs like poetry. But isn't that the human condition?

Ah, enough of that. It's time for me to wrap up, go home, do something... Ah, life, Katy... Ah life!


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