Tuesday, June 02, 2009

What's next

Here’s a little excerpt from “Work Libido” by Chase Twitchell, in Dog Language.

Gamblers and poets share
a passion for what’s next: the flush
disguised as a boat with a hole
(that’s poker talk), or a rift
in the poem, a soft spot that yields
the sticky perfume of pine pitch,
like burned honey but resinous,
spicy, antiseptic, a conduit straight
to childhood with its ferns
incompletely unfurled,
their not-quite-mature spores
glistening like caviar among green feathers.
And to the little diamond snake that slithered
round my neck (but only for a while).

I love that image of the soft spot in the poem. But even more, I love her statement that poets have a passion for “what’s next.” I’ve always been WAY too interested in what’s next. I have been thinking that it is an inheritance from Eve. Women, I hypothesize, just have an inherent tendency to keep "what’s next" on their radar, while the men are content to sit with their feet up happily clutching the remote control and a beer (or, er, gummy worms, as the case may be). I imagine the conversation in the Garden of Eden going something like this:

Eve: Adam, have you thought about what’s next?
Adam: You mean, the half-time show--? Or what?
Eve: No, I mean after this.
Adam: After what?
Eve: This. This place. This hanging out stuff. There’s got to be something else, don’t you think?
Adam: What for?
Eve: I’m just—I don’t know—itchy. Restless. We’re not GOING anywhere. Shouldn’t we be planning something?

Etc., etc.

So, anyway, I assumed it was a female thing. But Chase Twitchell (who is a female) thinks it is a poets thing. What do you think?


Tyler said...

I'm not the sports-watching, beer-drinking (er, gummy bear-eating) type of guy, but I do consider myself somewhat manly and I've always found myself reaching for what's next---not in any paralyze-myself-in-the-present-because-I'm-so-focused-on-the-future sense, but just a sense that something's on the horizon that I need to keep reaching for. I've always been able to sense when something's coming (though I may not know what "something" is) and I always find myself pushing toward what's next.

I don't know if that's the poet in me or because I'm more attuned to the feminine within than many men or if it's just an eternal wanderlust. But that's me; that's what I think.

scott bronson said...

Eternity is what is next. And to breach that shore I need do two things; react well to that which comes to me (meaning--to follow the metaphor--that I must work to avoid crashing on the rocks, or allowing my boat to capsize), and, actively assist others to do the same (meaning, leave bouys and other markers along the way). This may sound passive in nature except that implicit in this is that the journey had to begin with choosing a beach, picking a spot on the shore, and rowing for all you're worth.

During all of this, it is nice to find moments of stillness on the ocean when one can rest the oars, as it were, by drifting with the currents and taking refreshment--popping open a can of ... um ... gummy worms, or bears, although I prefer Swedish Fish (to complete the metaphor).