On Homesickness. - The second time I went to New England was after a prolonged time in the deep south. My tenure at Louisiana State University had come to a close (relativel...
Monday, October 13, 2014
Enchantment as strange as the Blue
Gary Snyder woke up blue. Blue hadn't really been sleeping, it's always awake, if not always named, always in the background of my mind, in the foreground of my soul, and my blue eyes are always scanning for their likeness. Enchantment with blue, as strange as blue, and goddesses' hair. Snyder's poem is called "The Blue Sky." I should have known it was a blue alarm clock.
If Snyder woke up blue, Maggie Nelson deep tongue kissed it. Her book "Bluets," helped me give voice to a feeling for a color as kindred spirit maybe. Bluets is the kind of book that finds me without me having to look for it. When I describe the books I like best, they don't fit neatly into a genre--poetry, aphorism, lyric essay, fragments on a theme strung together with blue thread. For Nelson, it was the ocean that pulled her in:
6. The half-circle of blinding turquoise ocean is this love's primal scene. That this blue exists makes my life a remarkable one, just to have seen it. To have see such beautiful things. To find oneself placed in their midst. Choiceless. I returned there yesterday and stood again upon the mountain.
There aren't many people who I'd wager would know in their bones my obsession with blue, but Nelson would be one. Thankfully she didn't grow up here, where the rivers, bay, and ocean shine more brackish than turquoise. I want to keep Nelson's blue kiss going. What does it feel like?
144. Then again, perhaps it does feel like a fire--the blue core of it, not the theatrical orange crackling, I have spent a lot of time staring at this core in my own "dark chamber," and I can testify that it provides an excellent example of how blue gives way to darkness--and then how, without warning, the darkness grows up into a cone of light.
The blue core of fire. That's a hell of a kiss. So now we have related blue to fire, the alchemical or elemental symbol I was born in. Hhhhmmm. Perhaps the soul, or some souls, are blue.
But Nelson doesn't take this thing too far. She puts its beauty in its place:
164. ... For blue has no mind. It is not wise, nor does it promise any wisdom. It is beautiful, and despite what the poets and philosophers and theologians have said, I think beauty neither obscures truth, nor reveals it. Likewise, it leads neither toward justice nor away from it. It is pharmakon. It radiates.
Come on people, it's just a color ;) Don't read too much into it. It is not some larger truth. It is beauty. It radiates.
Maybe I am putting too many words toward blue. They are words, they are not blue in and of itself. They can't get there, they can only hope to point a finger, or maybe a crazy straw full of blue raspberry snow cone, at blue. And that brings me to where my mind dwelled for a a good part of last week.
The frustration of words. Words express, but they don't do anything. They don't act, even if they can incite action. Words can't kiss. They can only bring on the desire for a kiss. I churn out thousands of words a day and none of them get me closer to anything. Nothing real. Just language. Just representation.
Nelson's blue began in the ocean. And it is the ocean that I was thinking of this past week. I've said it here before. It's likely that my thoughts all circle back to the same point, caught in a blue maze or a blue spiral. But my thoughts on words and what they can't do,
The ocean knows. So does Perry Farrell. Let's turn to him, his bottle and tattooed wrist holding a microphone. They are tinted blue.
I've seen the ocean
Break on the shore,
Come together with no harm done.
I want to be more like the ocean,
No talking, man
The ocean doesn't need words. It doesn't need to be described by words. It acts. And its actions are blue.
Words are strange, limited things. So are we. So is enchantment. As strange as the Blue up above.