Thoughts on Poetry Launch, Venus, & Such
I fell off my once a month posting schedule because what composes life can make one shelve compelling things that inspire. Life is sometimes just about endurance, I often say. A lesson I’m grateful to have learned young, because… well, the alternative ain’t good. I don’t aspire to be too busy but sometimes there’s no choice. I always try to tease out things that are finite (time, energy, patience, sanity…) versus things that are limitless (love, ?...) to guard the former. I scrawl this quote all over the place, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” - Goethe
Over the past month and a half that quote has been joined in mind with a powerful poem by Venus Thrash that Kim Roberts presented at her Memorial Service.
This joy I have, the world didn’t give
it to me and the world can’t take it away.
- Traditional Gospel
Lately I’ve been dreaming of death. Not some generic somber
homegoing of one I knew in passing mourning the the pews
removed and detached. But my own. Impending. Looming
behind my pillow. Lately I’ve grown more grateful every
morning I open my eyes. I snatch whatever happiness
I can from this hellacious life. I yank it right out of the infinite
sky. Like high-fiving god and pulling my hand away at the last
second. Like catching a falling star.
It’s like that — knowing the struggle, but Living despite it, determined to be amazed; devoting time to taking notice, even if most of life’s circumstances rally against it. Easier some times, some months, some years, than others.
Three weeks ago I launched Escape Velocity. To date, Venus’s was my favorite book launch for her poetry collection “The Fateful Apple” (2014, sadly out of print). My at-the-time-not-Ex and I got to the reading in NE DC early and stayed until well-after dark. I loved people that day, learned things, and developed an appreciation for brussel sprouts. I missed the possibility of her attending mine, although on many levels her presence was felt — poetry for and by her, music.
The party was bound to be something I’d appreciate more after the fact, such a magnificent collection of friends was overwhelming and I leapt far from my comfort zone in my performance. But the “after the fact” mostly just comes about now as I recenter myself from some things that matter least. And I’m left with both the almost tangible absence and not-hug from Venus and profound gratitude for those wonderfully alive souls who attended the party.
It’s hard to get one’s head around death. So many cliches about mourning and none seem wrong, although none seem to fit well either. I don’t think I’ve hit the core of the sorrow yet; peeling back a level of loss just reveals another, then another... as though there may be no end to it. But death does make me want to live large — sing bolder, revel in love, avoid joyless obligations. Venus’s passing particularly makes me want to extend myself more, carve out space and time to write, protect my peace of mind and inspiration, because there are only so many pages one can get down. And she wasn’t done yet. Such a phenomenal writer! I hope that some more of her work will be published posthumously. I feel a personal loss at her passing, but also a sadness for the world in what we all lost.
With my launch behind me and a work break ahead, I’m back to poeming and here I am blogging. Hope to increase the frequency of posts over the next few weeks. Starting with an interesting interview with Jay Hall Carpenter and then more. Trying to remember to appreciate all of the folks still with us, as I keep memories of those lost close and alive.