Saturday, November 12, 2005


You touched bottom
on the eighteenth floor
then stepped off
into a new not-meaning
a darkness
deeper than depression.
I remember your beauty
only in fragile hindsight
as confused and otherworldly.
I have the barest sense
of you turning
some last secret corner
inward to the centre
of your carefully-hidden enigma
by an emotional logic
than the bedrock
you watched
rise hard to meet you.

I wonder
what you thought
in those last
three and a half
as you spread your arms
wrapped them
like a lover
around the promise
of seductive nothingness
if you felt -
if you felt -
if you felt -
if you felt -


Fingers said...

Coyote, do you write one poem everyday or are these from an archive in different books with different colours?
How do you find the seclusion and inclusion of just the right amount to sit (or stand,) and write one thing each day? Do you form sentences in your mind before you sit down to write or do they come showering out of the nib of your pen as soon as it put it to paper?
I won't ask more questions for now, even though I do have plenty to ask.
Is it an art and you are an artist.

coyote said...

I have many books, in many colours.

I sit down to write in the latest one, most days, at about the same time - usually in the evening. Keeping that time as my own has posed different challenges over time, but I've (usually) managed the discipline when it has been important.

From here, the question of writing 'one thing each day' becomes a bit complicated and variable.

I've constructed most of the poems here gradually over days (months, years...). Some, I have gotten quite close in the first draft, but they mostly take time (sometimes a lot) to polish and refine. A very few have been 'right', straight to the page, the first time. And I felt that they were right, right away. It's a heady, rare feeling, and I treasure it when it happens. But I don't think that any poem has ever 'showered' out, like automatic writing. There's always a process.

In it, my unconscious mind makes a series of pictures every day, without me realizing. Later, a persistent phrase about one or more of the pictures begins to whisper at me from a dreaming place, repeating, teasing and pushing to be written. So I write it. It may stops there. Some of the phrases are very ordinary and banal. But sometimes I keep hearing and looking at one, and thinking about it, and my imagination won't let it go. I play with words and they eventually form a poem.

I consider myself a journeyman. I have some skill. Inspiration is a fine thing, but I have learned that what makes it work is training (I have some of that, too), and much practice over time, developing the craft that allows me to write the voice that you read, to match the dreaming whisper that I hear.

Like many poets, I wasn't always as discriminating when I started doing this. Most people's juvenalia sucks. Mine was no exception. A lot of would-bes and wanna-bes get hung up in that stage. But it's part of the evolution. And by reading many, many other people's poems, and writing many, many poems of my own, and thinking about them all over time, I've developed my own sense of what is good, and my voice has become more sure. It is my own.

Some of the poems I write are lousy. Maybe most. Some dance and sing. So another skill I've learned, I suppose, is to weed out the truly awful ones after they're written.

Some pieces that you see here aren't actually quite finished, but they're close. I have my reasons for posting them.

However, I no longer inflict upon others everything that comes out of this internal process. I make a series of conscious and unconscious selections. Edits, if you want, in a broad sense of the word 'edit'... choosing and rejecting images, the words to describe the images, to arrive at which of the resulting poems I wish to own. Or admit to.

I place these poems in front of others, and that's interesting because those others may see new and different things in them. This intrigues me, and I enjoy it, but it is a separate process, entered after a poem is finished. At the most basic level, I write 'em for me...

Enough. So ends the screed.

Fingers said...

Thank you for taking the time and effort to write all that. I appreciate it.

coyote said...

My pleasure... that's one of the reasons this blog exists.

Fingers said...

Would you like to write something for a small something I drew once?
(gulp) !
I'm sorry if this seems that case, just delete this.

coyote said...

Why a gulp? I can try. It's not preposterous, but it isn't my usual way of entering a poem, either, so it will be very experimental. Post me a link, and we'll both see what happens.

Fingers said...
The the first image.

coyote said...

I'm a slow sort of coyote this morning. Do you mean siesta time, the first image at the top today, or the image about pigeons on your windowsill, that you posted first?

Fingers said...

Good morning, Slow Coyote. I meant siesta time. Please do this only if you really feel like it, it isn't a must do.

coyote said...

A small something, you said? Huh. I think that you need to think about becoming less self-effacing. This is ripe with implications. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll go away and consider. If it goes well, I'll post a small something tomorrow...

Fingers said...

Coyote, the `small somethings' make all the difference..