And you always show up late; or, On Words (and Life) That Go Forward and Backward

The other meaning of the word “career” got me thinking about my “career” and my life’s career, and about how much I love double-entendre and the tricksiness of words. So as I careered (derived from horse riding) and careened (derived from ship repair), from one kind of life to another, little remained that looks like a career (derived from wheeled vehicle).

In fact I cleaved from path after path, quitting this, trying and quitting that, cleaving to a desire to be true to myself, whoever she was at any given time.

I buckled up in each trajectory’s car, buckled down to the work, but inevitably buckled from the pressure to sit.

I overlooked clues to what make me satisfied, overly concerned with some imagined authority who overlooked my choices.

Okay, maybe I’ve pushed the game too far. But I love that these are known as “Janus words,” that old two-faced bloke. But truly, I have careered, and cannot claim to have had a career, a definition that includes the notion of durability, of a devotion of time.

And the only thing I can say I have been devoted to across time is words. I have also loved silence. And there we have poetry.

But where am I? Who am I in all this mucking about? Harvey Oxenhorn in the wonderful Tuning the Rig has this to say about that: “Maybe…the problem isn’t knowing ‘who you really are’ but thinking that you can ever know. In an age when experience is far-ranging and the demands of daily life are so complex, perhaps integrity resides in not one ‘true’ strand of endeavors or desire but in the intelligence and love and dignity with which each person’s crazily conflicting strands are parceled, warmed, and served. That kind of strength is filamented — flexible, though prone to fray. It bind against itself, and holds.”

I love the generosity of that thought, how it allows us all to stumble and be contradictory, to be wrong and strong and uncertain, changeable and changed. It opens its arms to confusion. I pinball, therefore I am.

 

And speaking of looking backward: here are links to two poems published online in lit mags that are now in print inside my new chapbook, Being Many Seeds (www.graysonbooks.com/being-many-seeds.html):

https://amethystmagazine.org/2020/01/15/the-unfolding-earth-a-poem-by-marilyn-mccabe/

https://89b51d07-bdbc-4f8c-8b62-740f86360cd5.filesusr.com/ugd/61020d_1712d51103d94ed4be98f6b3470e2e9d.pdf

3 thoughts on “And you always show up late; or, On Words (and Life) That Go Forward and Backward

  1. Pingback: Poetry Blog Digest 2020, Week 21 – Via Negativa

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