Unglorified Disclaimer that I’ll Probably Regret
“What’s up, Schultzy?”
This is Cam talking. Only Cam calls me Schultzy and I love it. We talk shop: poems, submissions, cents per word, the poet’s market, and my upcoming visit. He wants to know about Parker. So I tell him: “Well, it naturally dissipated. What can I say? It’s a strange feeling, to go from such intensity to such neutrality, but it feels fine.”
“You’re in love with love, Schultzy.” He says it like a sage, like someone who’s been there before, like someone aware of how intensely that path pulls.
“I know,” I confess. “But you used to be, too. How did you stop being in love with love?”
“I don’t know, I just did.” The answer comes quickly. Then he hems, haws, and stutters. Then a sigh. “Shit Schultzy, I don’t have the answer.”
“But were you bitter about it all in the end?”
“Shit, yeah. No, no I wasn’t. I don’t know. Yes.”
It’s safer sometimes, to hide out in something inflated. There’s a lot more room and you’re less likely to bump into things, snag a cuff on the edge of the banister, bump into corners in the night.
Then there’s articulating the experience – even if the experience is something inflated. “Writers are always selling somebody out,” Joan Didion said. By which she also meant, I believe, they are doing only what they know how and the selling out is a default effect. Awareness of this effect is crucial. Owning up to it is essential. I claim only first drafts and fleeting moments in this stomping ground of expression. Sometimes those moments are captured in a way that tells more truth than the experience itself. Other times, the moments are captured and completely distorted. And the poetry, most of all, takes liberties but it does so because it claims no voice, no stable-bodied producer, no continuing narrative. Therefore, take heed. I’m in love with words even more than I am in love with love.