And that’s the thing about poetry…

once it’s out there it’s anybody’s game.  That is the interesting thing about poetry – what the writer wrote and meant is NOT always what the reader hears and understands. I think, unlike prose, the reader brings personal meaning to the poem. Regardless of what the writer meant, it’s what the reader understands that’s important. And you have to be okay with that. You can’t argue with a reader, you can’t stand up and shout – “That’s not what it means!!”

Perhaps you say to yourself “I’m not good at this, they didn’t get it” But, big but, if someone reacted to your poem, in a personal, positive way, then yes, yes, you ARE good at it. You touched someone. Maybe not the way you intended. You had a particular something in mind when you wrote, and it was personal to you. The act of writing it out and then offering it to the world closed that circle for you.

Then it was read and experienced in a different way from yours. It drew another person, and their experience, into your circle. Perhaps there was an overlap of understanding and feeling, perhaps not, but probably yes.

Your poem, it’s meaning, how it is experienced, becomes like a Venn diagram, commonalities here and there with large open spaces of no connection.  While you may seek, and wish, to be understood that won’t always happen. Poetry is deeply personal for the writer and the reader and there is where the joy is and the worth of it. The hard part of writing poetry is letting it be to other people whatever they need it to be regardless of what you meant it to be.

A writing professor of mine said “Poetry doesn’t have to be FOR everyone but it has to be ABOUT everyone.”

I have no attachments

to any physical place. I have no ‘home’, I desire no home. I have moved so many times in my life, within the same city or state, up and down the East Coast and out of the United States altogether. I have learned, embraced and revel in the idea/concept/fact that wherever I am that is where I belong. For me, moving is always an option.

And that said – I have no attachment to the United States of America. I was born here, yes, that makes me, legally, a citizen. BUT – I don’t identify with this country in any way. All of my grandparents were immigrants from various parts of Italy, my parents were born in the USA, and way back in their day, and for that matter, in my very much younger days, Italians were disparaged, insulted, discriminated against, especially us darker ones, and generally looked at as lesser people. My father taught us to be proud of being Italian but to also respect the USA. With all the emphasis on my Italian heritage I have no emotional attachment to Italy. Quite frankly I have no desire to even visit the country. I’m Italian, okay, everyone has to be something.

My paternal grandfather insisted that his children speak only English. The family credo was if you lived in a country and enjoyed the opportunities it offered then you owed that country your loyalty and respect. You followed their laws, you spoke their language. At the same time you did not deny your own cultural heritage. That is a rather a sweet idea, don’t you think? Not one that anyone subscribes to nowadays.

Honestly? I do not value my USA citizenship. I could (and would) relinquish it without a second thought. I have no emotional or intellectual attachment to this country. I could live in any first world country, and I do specify ‘first world’, having lived in a third world country. I like my comforts and the advantages of a highly developed country. At my age learning another language is problematical so should I decide to decamp for better places than this, English would have to be the dominant language.

Given my age and my financial situation moving just about anywhere, much less to another country, is not a viable plan. Which makes me sad. Very sad. It is so past time to move on.

Repetition

I hate it. I most particularly hate repetitive sounds; I even more particularly hate repetitive music. When we had a car my husband had his musical choices on a thumb drive which he would play through the car’s sound system. One song in particular, of the many songs in particular, that would cause me to lose my mind, was Edie Brickell singing “A hard rains gonna fall” after each verse she would moan “and a hard, hard, hard” ad infinitum ending with “rains gonna fall” at which point I would scream “Shut the fuck up already, we get it, it’s gonna rain, get a goddamn umbrella”

Just sayin’…

Scenery

I don’t have much use for it. In books, when the author goes on for pages about what a place looks like, unless it is essential to the story, and it seldom is, I just skip those parts. I don’t care what something looks like in the literal sense – you’ve seen one sunset you’ve seen them all. Truly. There are only degrees, often minimal, of difference.

Greenery – I have learned I cannot live without a view of trees but I don’t need the whole damn forest. I have no desire to walk through a forest. Or even be in close proximity to a forest. Just a coupla damn trees outside my window – need that.

Mountains – don’t impress me. Yup, they’re usually big. Okey-dokey.

Deserts – they tend to be monochromatic – mostly brownish or greyish – or whatever color deserts are. I can’t recall ever seeing a desert up close and personal and I have no desire to chase down that particular experience.

Lakes – eh – some are more impressive than others but only because of their size. Lakes tend to be still – gently lapping waves. Yes, yes – lakes can really whip up in a storm and a stormy lake can kill you as easily as an iceberg but still…it’s a lake.

Now what does thrill me to my very soul is an ocean. Ahhh – oceans. Yes. Endlessly fascinating, mesmerizing. Soothing and scary at the same time. Put me by an ocean. I’m at peace and I’m at home.