We don’t write from a vacuum, we missive from a moment, exhaling the air we breathe. So I’m not blowing smoke when I note if I don’t quit smoking now, today, and forever, a fatality will soon follow. And that’s a known fact around these parts. Understood and articulated by both healthcare professionals and those who have chosen to watch my six, root for, and go through the riot with me. And that they will.
So this post is not a sending out of an SOS for remedy or well wishes. But it is a plea and proffer to your understanding that even in the brightest light of hard truth and clear fact, the mist of the mundane often becomes magical. That the up close and very personal flirts in and out of focus with the overarching view of what’s universal.
And change is universal. And, at the same time, infinitely personal. And given the Janus coin flavor of change, the results of each flip will vary, from a penultimate outcome to some schoolboy’s rakish prank.
I mean the “word workings” of everyday people confronting the tongue-tied tide of “mass man”.
So why with the very nature of the next breath at stake would I proceed with so windy a preamble? To give import to a personal change that I’m currently and suddenly going through; that many, if not most, would consider, given the scheme of things, a paltry particular at best, and a less than sympathetic sideshow in the main.
Maybe. And that change I’ve been circling is coming. But first, I want to state straight up that I believe “word slinging” is the key to our survival.
And by “word slinging” I mean poetry. And by poetry, I don’t mean academic acceptance, or ideological pretensions, propaganda by stanza, or the romantic jottings down of a full or broken heart via lifted lines from the likes that now occupy the offices of those former “mAD Men.”
I mean the “word workings” of everyday people confronting the tongue-tied tide of “mass man” who means, or maybe not, it matters not, to drown us all, awash in his inarticulateness. Unable to juxtapose grievance with remedy, he resorts to rage and revenge and the end results have us all bouncing about the remaining rubble.
Because if “word slinging” is about anything it’s about juxtaposition. Bringing perceived differences to a position that better reflects similarities. Juxtaposition is a tool in search of justice. And on that bottom line, lay poetry.
Well, I didn’t know all that when I began slinging it almost two decades ago. I refused to consider myself anything near to a poet, in quality of the work or in the attitude of the endeavor. Just a guy with some rank wordplay skills, willing to put it down, good or bad, quickly post it up, and call it all a knock-off with out consequence.
Suddenly, I know I no longer care to share what I “word sling” anew. And that’s new. Big change. Are these new “knock-offs” more profound, better tuned, more meaningful than the previous? Not necessarily. I just don’t know.
But between you and me, Gutenberg and God, living, dying, and legacy in the digital age may require a new juxtaposition. Perhaps no one’s epitaph is complete now, without a, firmly etched in stone, ISBN number.
Obvious vanity aside, that just might make for a better world.