On the Meta-Observer
“Life is far too important
to be taken seriously.”
— Oscar Wilde
A few weeks ago, my mother took me to an arts fair where I was reminded of an admonition made to me by my brother. It was two cliches but, like John Ashbery, I find a lot of sturdy, utilitarian meaning in cliches. “Stop pushing people away. Learn to enjoy being goofy around others.”
Kurt Vonnegut said that people were put on this earth to fart around. He valued family, too, especially extended family. But he also carried guilt and shame about his immediate family, partly because he had found his mother after she had killed herself, and partly because he left his wife and mother of his children, who had made many sacrifices for his writing career, for a younger woman.
I have a lot of attachment issues, too, which have prevented me from being able to maintain proper emotional balance in intimate relationships. Because of this, I've been something of a serial monogamist, not really feeling whole without a relationship, while being too destructively self-interested to be able to sustain one.
That was, at least, until I found the CALM MO, and thus became capable of taking a third person vantage with myself such that I can leave the need for parental care aside in favor of a matrix of selves which can be recognized in relationship to others.
Of course, I've been able to do this since 1995, when T.S. Eliot taught me how in “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock,” and I managed three introspective works of unreadable doggerel called “The Ballad of the Self,” where I managed my first forays into meta-consciousness.
I will forever be a derivative, second-class poet, but I filch from good poets like Coleridge, Stevens, Laura Riding, Mina Loy, and (of course) John Ashbery.
This Yule, I have been revisiting Ashbery, I think in preparation for Christ’s Mass, where I wish to be joyful and loving around my family.
"All beauty, resonance, integrity, Exist by deprivation or logic Of strange position."
— “Le Livre est sur la Table” (The Book is on the Table) by John Ashbery
YouTube showed me that one of my favorite filmmakers was also influenced by him:
“My work is funny not because I think that’s an end in itself, but I find that some of the juxtapositions that make something seem beautiful to me are also funny.” — Kenneth Koch
Walking around Evansdale (which is, technically, my home town) I wrote this poem. Hope you like it okay. As I suggested earlier, it’s derivative.