Exhausted is one of the April 2013 pieces. I read it at the recent Plasticine Poetry, along with The Gate of The Kiss, and I Don’t Count. Unlike many of my poems ‘I’ is me in this one. Often ‘I’ is not me. Or to be more obscure: “Je est un autre. (I is someone else).” ― Arthur Rimbaud
It can be a hard distinction for people in an age when we assume poetry is confessional, that the opinions or experiences expressed here are those of the speaker. That need to identify content with the package is one of the reasons I don’t write about certain things that have never happened to me – i.e.: childhood sexual abuse; anorexia – big issues that I have insight into but steer away from.
Exhausted was a prompt word that opened up the first image – I rarely write about writing – that sort of meta doesn’t appeal to me – poetry about poetry is not for me. Could be one of the reasons it is so short. It has had some editing and I do like the final verse – with the admission that the face you see in the mirror my writing may hold up is not mine or yours but merely a meaning we want that face to imply; and I dig the echo of the escape tunnel from the first verse.
The three line verse was a structure imposed when the piece was finished. My first draft was a single spew of lines, sometimes not even with line breaks or spaces skipped between words – and with such seriously bad typing I had to guess what I was getting at.
have I been writing
or an escape tunnel
I’ve held a pen so long
I don’t remember picking it up
I don’t know if I can put it down
it’s worse than a gun
because no one is safe
no memory goes undisturbed
I never know what incident
will be dug up again again again
or buried forever
no ghost is safe
no memory is reliable
no lover is sacred
the mirror reflects a metaphor
not a face
not a light at the end of anything