Whenever I write about a subject, I can never nail it to the wall of white space the way I want to, and have learned that if I want to have one, I must write about anything else other than that subject to even come close to giving order to it.
This I thought about this morning after a friend of mine sent me a link to an interview with a hero of ours, who as I interpret him, is saying how noise has really taken over the world and now we must learn to be silent again and reflect if we are to save ourselves from ourselves. It even got me looking at some poems and interviews by poets about silence in which they reflected upon their relationship with it, through the slanted parallel subjects of uncertainty and absence.
Texting him these links I was reminded of how often I start writing about what I want to write about only after I’ve failed to. I’m just about to give up before suddenly, a confessional moment comes over me and I realize much to my relief that the subject I wanted to write about, in this case, silent reflection, when unpacked, is the experience of semiconsciously conversing with myself until I stumble upon what I mean, usually by accident, which is another lie I tell myself, when what I really mean is through surrender.
Naturally, the more conscious I become of why I write in the first place, and of what exactly I need to do in order to write my next favorite prayer to someone or something, the harder it becomes to write one, and I find I need to come up with all sorts of writerly redirects, often small poetry exercises or other various mundane distractions in order to enter that space where failure, self-reflection and insight meet.
Poems don’t come to me the way they used to when they were experiments in how deeply I could trust my own mind to lead me out of confusion. Now that I’m smart, I’m never confused for long, and that brings its own problems.
While thinking about approaching this poem on silent reflection, I began asking myself what could I possibly say about it that hasn’t already been said, and then wrote my next thought down, which was that I always write or speak about it. Part of it remains up there in the first line. The metaphor of struggling in quicksand only to sink further down comes in handy now, thanks Gilligan’s Island,
and why I’m changing the subject of this poem from silent reflection to kicking back and relaxing in the face of certain misperception, a more melodramatic way of saying letting go of, not knowing, but of always having to find a more authentic kind of unknowing. In fact, I think letting go of the desire to find the original wrong idea can reflect the most silent kind of reflection.