Monday, October 19, 2015

Pondering with Eileen Myles

When I'm writing the poem, I feel like I have to close my eyes. I don't mean literally, but you invite a kind of blindness and that's the birth of the poem. Writing is all performance. Something's passing through. When people talk about formal constraints, that's just technology, that's fashion. I like fashion, but you keep adjusting those things to let the other thing happen. The performance is us writing what's using us, remarking upon it.
Eileen Myles, The Paris Review, No. 214

Yes, something passing through -- I feel, too, as if I'm channeling words, worlds, allowing them space. There's ease in that allowance. The light in my bathroom is an old one, a 1920s fixture set over the door with a metal chain that you pull to turn it on and off. Lately, you can easily turn the light on, but it's difficult to turn it off. In lieu of buying a whole new fixture, I've learned how to gently pull it in an intuitive way, feeling in the space for the perfect point. I take a breath in and could swear that when I breathe out and pull, simultaneously, it clicks off. If I do it more casually -- let's say as I'm running out -- or less mindfully (which is generally always when you're going into and out of your bathroom), pull the chain, simply, but the light stays on. It's like I've missed my chance and have to wait a bit,  the light implacable, before going back and trying again. I place my fingers on the silver beads of the chain and feel it -- that space. Breathe in and out and pull. Blind. Something's passing through. I'm not sure you can or want to live that way, though, with such concentrated intention, the simultaneous blindness and flow.



  1. When that is what presents to us, what other way is there to live? You've described it beautifully. I'd know it anywhere. xo

  2. I would want it, at least frequently if not always. this is superb.

  3. I understand this heightened state so well. I love when I get there. It's escape in a way, slipping the bonds of space and time, just for a while. You describe it exquisitely.

  4. yes yes. thank you for turning the light on



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