I want to remember that poetry is everywhere. Although there were many things I disliked about that movie, "Shakespeare in Love," I loved the scene where Shakespeare is walking down a busy street, where there are merchants and random passersby, and you hear different lines from his plays pop out from various conversations. The words sound profound and beautiful, and yet they are simply words spoken every day by common people.
When I worked in retail for the past few years, I could not see poetry everywhere. Well, I could, but I had to train myself to be blind to it. In some ways, to me, poetry is about resisting the luxury of taking words for granted. The language of sales is unapologetically manipulative; and the language of a retail workplace is unapologetically hierarchical and, where I worked, patriarchal. This was my 40 hours per week. This was how I paid my medical bills, how I got health insurance, and how I fed and housed myself and my rabbits. I needed it, and I needed to be blind to the irresponsible use of language that I witnessed and practiced every weekday.
But today is different. Today, I have the luxury of making no compromises to my understanding of the world around me. Writing about my daily life will not endanger my ability to take care of my basic needs. There were times in the past few years that I would sit down and write about my work routine, the things I said to people while selling things, etc.; but it would make me so angry and frustrated that I would want to quit my job. Even though today I am in a happy place, a healthy place, I am still locked into that partially blinded mode. When I sit down to write, I'm not thinking about today or even yesterday. I'm thinking about a situation from the past or the strange occurrences in my brain ;), but nothing of the present. I need to remember to incorporate the present into my poetry. I think this is the only way to move beyond the mindset that made it almost impossible for me to write for the last few years.
I just started reading Kaia Sand's interval. It's been inspiring for me to read. She came to San Francisco about a year ago, and I saw her read for Small Press Traffic, along with Rae Armantrout. Kaia's reading was so moving, passionate, smart, responsible, and many more wonderful adjectives. It is grounded in the everyday and also critical of it. I'll probably finish reading this today.