Sunday, October 4, 2015

Deep in Their Roots

I take pictures with my phone of stuff I see as I go about my day.  
 
I don't search for beauty, and I definitely don't search for any kind of meaning when I do this.  In fact, I try very hard not to think about anything at all.  A little spasm goes off in my head, and I think:  what the hell?  The most uninteresting shit is what I'm looking for, to be honest:  the interregnums, the gaps between moments that don't really justify jpegs but still I do it, and then I look at it and post it and it's gone.  It's kind of like a form of prayer, like I'm absorbing meaning by cancelling out the pursuit of it.  And posting them on Facebook lets them come back at me as if they never were photos in the first place, just little digital burps trapped inside other nonessential information. 
 
If you stare at things long enough you find what you need to find, but still you won't have any idea what you've found.  These stupid pictures are evidence of that.  A solitary silver light-switch menacingly daring you to talk to it, fluorescent tubes above a urinal humming themselves to sleep, a couple of cigarette butts staring at each other longingly on a parking garage platform.  These images don't lie because they don't have to.  They just do their jobs, being meaningless and factual and then gleaming toward a poetry you can't really publish or even most of the time translate into actual poetry.  They don't need language and they really don't need you. They are pretty close to unconsciousness and yet they are fully aware of what they are, what they are supposed to be doing.  It's like that last beautiful glimmering burst of knowing something right before you forget it and it's gone forever.  
 
So here are some of these pictures I've taken.  I used to do the same exercise back in the day with a Polaroid camera.  And those milky-shiny pictures turn into jumping-off points for short stories, novels, poems, whatever.  Maybe some of these will spawn something else, not too sure, but they make me feel sharper somehow.  They give me a reason to contemplate without connecting to common sense.  One of my favorite poets, Theodore Roethke, wrote this in his journal:  "Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light."
 
That's kind of what these photos are:  unobtrusive and homely flowers keeping the light deep down inside a network of roots and tunnels and tributaries that flow into and out of one another without anyone noticing, caring or even feeling the need to see.