Poetry might be defined as the clear expression of mixed feelings.
Looking back, I stopped writing in my notebook when I stopped wanting to know myself anymore. If you hear a song that makes you cry and you don’t want to cry anymore, you don’t listen to that song anymore. But you can’t get away from yourself. You can’t decide not to see yourself anymore. You can’t decide to turn off the noise in your head.
In a world were the focus is solely on the consumer: what ‘I’ can gain, what ‘I’ deserve, kindness is the first to go. Once kindness is gone, disdain sets in until eventually self entitlement is common. When children are raised in this environment they kick, fight and scream until the parent relents and allows anything. Essentially the child is raised in an environment where anything is available and everything is promised. Children of this environment are, to put it mildly, stupid. Their focus is self-interest, their attention span is short, they lack intelligence because they spend most of their waking hours playing video games, especially the boys. Does this sound cynical? Perhaps. But all one has to do is take a few weeks, go out into public places and watch. It’s there, and it’s fucking scary.
I spent a lot of time as a volunteer in a nursing home in Amherst last summer. I was reading Dante’s Divine Comedy to an old man, Mr. Shulman. One day, I asked him where he was from. He said, ‘Just east of here, the Rockies.’ I said, ‘Mr. Shulman, the Rockies are west of here.’ He did a voilà with his hands, and then said, ‘I move mountains.’ That stuck with me. Fiction either moves mountains or it’s boring; it moves mountains or it sits on its ass.