where in the world…
91 of the 247 poems I’ve tracked down (36.8%) have to do, in some fashion, with (my) identity. Here are some of those images: “me as a tree”; “leafy me”; “I am my watershed”; “I was the octopus that got away”; ”salamander, slime mold, sycamore”; “my inner spider”; “embroidered with slime”.
Sound-wise, I clearly like long e’s, short and long i’s, and sibilant s’s.
= = =
“I don’t see myself reflected anywhere / except in plants / in pots / transplanted / to little shops.”
= = =
In our old neighborhood, I could tell you where almost every instance of a particular type of tree was physically located. Most were old friends that I visited often. I knew where all the honeysuckle shrubs were, all the patches of garlic mustard. I knew good spots in the hedges to see large orbweavers at night (until I stopped seeing them). The part of the sidewalk where I commonly saw skinks. Where I once saw a snake crossing the street in the rain.
I know where all the beech, birch, and redbud trees are near the library. I always say Hello to the crown vetch, ragweed, and clover that someone keeps trying to eradicate over there. Once, I saw a dead salamander on the steps; I’d never have looked for live salamanders there.
I don’t like photos of myself inside buildings because I prefer to be surrounded by plants growing in the ground. Plants are part of who I am. Flowers, especially ‘weeds’, same thing. When I see chicory, Queen Anne’s Lace, dandelions, daisies, I know I belong. Going into buildings, I first look for plants in pots. Failing that, windows that look upon trees and/or flowered areas. Running water is always good.
If I have any or all of that, I feel grounded and ready to encounter… human beings.
(If I don’t have any or all of that, it’s gonna be a looooong day.)
If/when I try excising my sensibility and self from my writing, I’m excising plants and critters and rocks and rivers too.
It’s easier to do in writing prose, especially about art or creativity, which is commonly supposed to be a human-only thing.
In poems, I really can’t. I don’t.
Plants have shown up in the most unlikely places in my poems.
One of the truest poems I’ve ever written about myself is infused with… rivers. Also, trees, cliffs, and a mountain lion.
If I remove me, I remove the world.
What’s left to write about?