This is mostly so I’ll remember to read this later, but I figure a few of my fiction friends might find this interesting too, especially as we come to the end of our first [big, terrifying, exciting] drafts.
This is a great poem by Richard Newman, the guy I work for in the summers at River Styx, a literary journal in St. Louis. He writes great lines and does some very good rhyming (less so in this poem, by which I mean, there’s less, not that it’s not good–but if you want the good stuff check out his chapbook). Anyway, I like this poem. So go read it, goddammit.
I really like this poem. Not as huge on parts of the ending (I think he looses his control once or twice and falls into overly-explicit moralizing at some points, and frankly there’s a simile or two that I think aren’t useful w/r/t his theme), but a lot of it is lovely. Especially the first section.
i need to sleep i guess but there’s coffee in my veins and i’m wide awake enough for the moment (and for the time to come) and there’s things that need doing and words that need writing (not these words, no, not these) but these things will have to wait for my bed calls to me longingly and asks where i have been gone these hours since i laid down to rest snoozing three times (or four) before slinking slowing my feet out of the covers and onto the floor.
Il faut être toujours ivre. Tout est là: c’est l’unique question.
Pour ne pas sentir l’horrible fardeau du Temps qui brise vos épaules et vous penche vers la terre, il faut vous enivrer sans trêve.
Mais de quoi? De vin, de poésie, ou de vertu, à votre guise. Mais enivrez-vous.
Et si quelquefois, sur les marches d’un palais, sur l’herbe verte d’un fossé, dans la solitude morne de votre chambre, vous vous réveillez, l’ivresse déjà diminuée ou disparue,
demandez au vent, à la vague, à l’étoile, à l’oiseau, à l’horloge, à tout ce qui fuit, à tout ce qui gémit, à tout ce qui roule, à tout ce qui chante, à tout ce qui parle, demandez quelle heure il est;
et le vent, la vague, l’étoile, l’oiseau, l’horloge, vous répondront: “Il est l’heure de s’enivrer!
Pour n’être pas les esclaves martyrisés du Temps, enivrez-vous; enivrez-vous sans cesse! De vin, de poésie ou de vertu, à votre guise.
* * * * *
Always be drunk. Therein lies everything: it’s all that matters.
So as not to feel the dread burden of Time breaking your shoulders and crushing you to the earth, never stop drinking.
But what? Whether wine, poetry or virtue, the choice is yours. Whatever: get drunk.
And if sometimes, on the palace steps, in the gutter’s green grass, or in the maudlin solitude of your room, you wake up, and the drunken haze has dwindled or gone,
then ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock; ask everything that flees, everything that groans, everything that moves, everything that sings, everything that speaks: ask them what time it is;
and the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, and the clock will all reply:
“It is the drinking hour”.
To escape the fate of those tormented slaves of Time, get drunk.
Drink deep, never ceasing.
Whether wine, poetry, or virtue, the choice is yours.
“People aren’t either wicked or noble. They’re like chef’s salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict.”—Lemony Snicket, The Grim Grotto (via supprosetry)
What’s this? Something that I’m going to save and explore more in the second draft? Wait, what? There’s going to be a second draft? And a third? Wait, just how long am I going to be working on this thing, anyway?
five forty-two and i’ve not written a word worth capitalization, not a sentence worth remembering nor a collection of decipherable letters, which is to say, i’ve written nothing, not to be vain, but the time will come (now, or sooner, or later) when it seems i will dive back into my notes, into these pages rendered in pixels so small i cannot see (i cannot see where i am going), into this story that has perhaps haunted me since i found that ache in my intestines both too long and not long enough ago to try and say something and discover all of these things, and i pray someone (god let it be oh lady, oh lady ella, o first lady of song) will tell me what is this thing, called love?
“(The introduction of this quotation [above] is very interesting, for it shows that our literature of to-day has a circulation in heaven–pirated editions, no doubt.–M.T.)”—Mark Twain, Queen Victoria’s Jubilee