I’m in that mood, that mode. That feeling that sometimes indicates an upcoming Spot where sometimes Poetry happens. It isn’t happening. But anyway, it makes me realize a few things. One is that I am not apparently capable of writing fiction when something doesn’t feel wrong, when something does not in some way or another hurt me or make me feel a bit sad. On one level, that’s good — it means my destiny is not, apparently, to write Greeting Cards, and I can’t think of a worse destiny than that. On another, it’s bad, because it means — and yes, I’m just now admitting this to myself — that I occasionally let things get a little too far south just for the visceral edge of it, just for the Feeling of dissociation that comes, where it takes a poem to get me back to my body, or get me out of it entirely. I let shit go too far just to Feel. I really don’t care for how that might be read, and I don’t care for what it might say about me — and it certainly isn’t conscious and isn’t always about Poetry. But I’ll leave it without further exploration for now, because I’m not done Walking with my Staff, poking its narrow end into black holes and the spaces between rocks, looking for vipers and seashells and beautiful, poisonous flowers that only grow in the dark.

I can’t write without doing this, you see.

I heard a great story tonight. My friend R’s father just died, last week, after a protracted battle with some particularly nasty cancer. In the time he spent with his family during death-week, and the following painfully mundane post-funeral chores, his cousin told him about the family heirloom. It’s not a piece of silver or some porcelain, not an old carved cigar-store Indian or a ring to be passed from mother to daughter-in-law — it’s a title to New Amsterdam signed by Queen Elizabeth I, granting the land of New Amsterdam to this particular clan, which is descended from that most Commonly named of Uncommonly Mythological Men, John Smith. For his family’s service of 99 years to the Crown. Now, quite frankly, I don’t give a shit about the gaps in this story. What I adore is the idea that there could be a piece of paper in a safe deposit box somewhere, held for generations by a family that has become something we might call a mountain family, written in the hand of an English queen, granting this undeveloped piece of property that is now what it is to this clan of brothers. I want to write this, about what this means, about where it could go depending on what alternate universe I put it in. But that does not appear to be happening.

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