Last night’s dream had James Tate–and several other poets, and me–doing final judging on submitted poems (to a journal? a contest?) “Next poem!” he kept saying with authority and we’d shuffle our stack of papers. We all sat in a brick red room, lots of light. One poem began with pictures of candy (some triangles in goldish foil, some green/white peppermint swirls–what I mean is, there were words and these three or four pieces of candy instead of words. Like this: “If (CANDY) (CANDY) (CANDY) she never saw.” I said what no one else wanted to say, and spoke as authoritatively as Tate did, “The candy just doesn’t make sense. It’s a distraction.”
What makes sense? Sense sometimes, and some time is always happening now, is a trick. Every second there’s at least twenty people on earth saying The brain is a pattern recognition machine and Where it finds no pattern it creates one. So it should come as no surprise to you if I wrote this here. Instead I’ll let the facts speak for themselves, even though it’s hard to believe in fact.
James Tate wrote:
“Jesus got up one day a little later than usual. He had been dreaming so deep there was nothing left in his head. What was it? A nightmare, dead bodies walking all around him, eyes rolled back, skin falling off. But he wasn’t afraid of that. It was a beautiful day. How ’bout some coffee? Don’t mind if I do. Take a little ride on my donkey, I love that donkey. Hell, I love everybody.”
Sampson Starkweather wrote:
“My religion is that I love you”
You have to stop making sense in order to love. Because who can love a long rope of shit? But there’s one inside everyone, and when you love the person you love that too. And when you love that person you love the way they think, and all the thoughts of anyone is a scary thing. But still we love.
Poetry is my religion. It is a practice in love. It is a door to love. Even the most beautiful poem in the world can be a really stupid thing to say, and vice versa. But still we love them. I love all the mistakes that become sunlight growing food from the ground. I love all the beauty that makes me cry myself to sleep some nights. I love my lazy eyes.
You go to any other country and all the things that bore all the people living there amaze you. Especially the candy. New colored foods. New ways of being sweet and bright. New ways of tasting concentrated sun. You love these and this love you feel for this is the love inside you that you have for yourself reflecting back to you through the prism of candy. This works in all ways.
All the wisemen want to teach us how to feel this always, for everything, forever. Jesus and Buddha both said you should love your enemy. And why shouldn’t we? Because we’re afraid of not making sense. This is the only distraction.