Monday, October 18, 2004

Poem of the week?

My original plan for this blog was to include something called the poem of the week. I was going to raid some of my old poetry collections, like Memories For A Lonely Night or The Man Who Killed Time, or maybe even retroblog some of my travel writings from While The Traveller Dreams. The idea was to help me get back in touch with my long-lost love of creative writing, especially complex lyrical poetry, but also my early blog-like impressionistic writings, from back when I could actually say a lot in just a paragraph or two. (As compared to now, where I blather on for pages about nothing in particular.)

However, now that the first week of my blog has been and gone, I'm still finding it hard to pick something to post. I wish I could say it's because all the work is so great, but in actuality it's more that the individual pieces are so interrelated, it's hard to pick a single poor helpless poem or essay to stand up for itself in the harsh glare of an audience that probably mostly isn't here for poetry. I cycle back and forth between thinking, "Shall I post free verse and look pretentious? Lyrical rhythms that might be seen as doggerel?" Worst of all, some of the best-written stuff is on subject matter that now seems vaguely embarassing: teenage angst, unrequited love, all that sort of thing. If I narrow it down to only respectable subjects (or ones whose subjects nobody will figure out), that doesn't leave very many to choose from -- which might be why I've scarcely written any new material in the last 14 years or so.

Well, as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I guess I'll kick off the process with something that isn't a poem at all. It's the introduction to my 1987 collection, Memories For A Lonely Night, which was part of a series of literary 'zine-like publications I was producing on a Tandy Model 2000 computer and printing on daisywheel printers, to be photocopied and mailed to a handful of childhood friends, college buddies, and random strangers I met on the bus and hit it off with, in a literary sense.

No, that last one's not a joke; some of those random strangers actually sent original art and other works of their own, which I then printed in an irregular periodical called "From Phillip's Friends". Let's just say I didn't have many hobbies back then; if blogs had existed, I surely would have had one. Anyway. Here's the introduction from the collection, that was addressed to those old and new friends of mine:
February 14, 1987
Dear Friends,

It's 1987; do you know where your friends are? When was the last time you hugged someone and said "I love you"? Do you sit and stare at the walls sometimes, with nothing to do or else not wanting to do it, just wondering, just thinking about how things seem to rush on by, letting the old friendships and affairs of the heart slip through the cracks in your life?

This short collection of melancholy memories is intended as a reminder of those times, a voyage along the twilight zone of memory lane, into the dark side of the good old days, where we long ago laid to rest the things we wished we could forget and the things we wish we had remembered sooner.

You can read on now, if you want to, even if the sun shines bright outside your window and the birds sing their private melodies and you'll be seeing your friends later on today. But this collection is truly meant for reading when the trees are dead in winter or the clouds hide the sun on a rainy day or in the empty darkness of the house on a lonely night.

With heartfelt thanks for all the memories,

Phillip Julian Eby
Yeah, right. Who knows, maybe next week I'll have the guts to actually post a poem -- maybe even a short one. Maybe even without added commentary that's longer than the actual content. Oh the heck with it. Here's a bloody poem already, a cinquain from the aforementioned collection:

You hold
me close to you
and ask, "How can this be?"
I look at you and whisper how:
I wish I could remember what it was that happened in my life that inspired that piece.