new zealand electronic poetry centre

Paula Green


in the teeth of poetry

Breadth: an intoxicated cube of light strikes me as commonsense.   One day I am poached by a collision with glass.   Amputated from the word, my feet leave the ground, and the world appears to me to be confused, uncatchable, a seething keyhole.   Admittedly, in the very course of writing, reality is less true.   Affluent.   Confined.   How can a detached eye lead us to poetry?   Each word is a cut.   Cutting out the brittle city that I no longer recycle from my plain shadows I fall upon writing.   All of a sudden I defend the light.

Height: it is a moment of stopping.   Or ripped sentences.   Or coded bearings.   At this crucial point I find myself, frightfully, not entirely living, evicted from a sort of familiarity.   Dismembered from daily life.   Such that I pretend to hear.   Beloved phrases:   unfaithful, yet serve as a model for what holds me back.   In a fit of not knowing where the bereavements arrive, I disturb the light’s illumination.   A yellowing poem.   A stony poem.   Either to write without stopping or to stop writing.   Our words will rise over a cold damp windowsill.

Depth : so when I am seeing it from another point of view, everything is to be rediscovered.   At some inaugural layer where deprived of an ear for convention a new scale gives power to strangeness.   There must be places: not just with the soil or the tremendous oceans but with heads, intuition, and lungs that spread out.   Telling stories.   Telling words.   Telling ourselves.   We are top and bottom advanced by language.   Drunk with hope.   Cupped with treasures and infinity.   Yet lost from the beginning.

Surface : which is richer.   Which is stronger.   Which is our low and comforting friend.   I have a sense of light that for me is bloated with purpose.   Where do I find it?   Is it a question of preservation?   We all desire the imagination of knowing.   Of joy in poetry.   Of a place of relations.   Writing for me is thirsting without limits.   This makes my portraits.   Carrying things that matter more than words.

Enchanted with the word : so I am forgetting to remember this noun or verb.   Writing lags.   Writing disembarks.   How can I think I can establish a point of action?   Or even my intentions that will swivel violently for the truth?   A practice that disarms a light head?   Writing the oxymoric word and all vulnerability appears.   In my faulty condition, from our broken angles, our flustered stems.

Formlessness: I love the reach.   The beating breath.   All the difference reflection makes.   Now the incomprehension.   This happens daily to me or not-me.   There is in this not-knowing the means to not-attention.   Little by little I exist to believe in the far-off.   Wonderful.   And then it was night and then it was morning.   The close-by: a scar.   A story.   An arthritic foreign territory.   I love the scar.   I love the story.   But in this sense awkwardly broken.

Meaning : where does the writing lead us?   That is to say always precipitated.   Assembled and rattling hard at our misgivings.   That in suffering or joy constitutes us in a word.   Do we have time to recognize the grace of sour bread in a poem?   And to go quickly?   Or to live countless intimate events?   For example, to make superhuman efforts at recognition.   In a poem, I am thinking, sometimes, we follow joy.

Sound : the writing becomes memory.   A wall if you are afraid.   Every day I evoke the sea to be at the thin edge of the ocean where in fleeing I lose it.   Such is the alteration of writing.   Facing the disintegration I recognize my own fragile feet.   I am able to face looking.

Multiplicity: perhaps I am mistaken.   I have a feeling nothing will conduct a great soggy laughter.   I have a feeling that writing, shuddering out of nervous alignment, masquerades as mourning.   In these circumstances I bear witness to a particular scene.   A story.   A fluttering register.   I am alive.   Up to the last second.   In saying this I make myself giddy.   It’s life.   In writing this I will think of a field of wheat.   Accompanied by my memory of sky.

Metaphor : there is uncommon speech.   There is uncommon feeling.   Even if I understand the daily calculations, the means of living, I must not let go of the splinters, the dreams of hard-working fragments.   In spite of leaking memory I think.   Indeed in pieces.   With semi-colons.   A brooding bowl of ribolitta.   We swallow hard and choose what we want.   This is how I continue to be surprised.   Yet history flows into each human tile.

Lightness : to live again in the world.   To take my place is liable to be siding with writing.   Writing lets go of the distance.   Writing cherishes the distance.   The sensation of forming an instant present of one’s own brings us towards a magnificent echo.   Ever everything under our feet.   Ever part of the greatest risks.   The word slips from memory.   Is memory.   Is grown in bits and pieces.   Piercing the world about us.   Piercing the poem.   I will recuperate something lost in a glass collision and return to feel my life.   At the same time.   At the same time.   To leave ourselves: deposited and sheepishly congealed in writing.   To exceed ourselves in leaving: it is with the same uneasy ear.                        

September 2001   

Paula Green

Last updated 7 August, 2005