Follow Harriet on Twitter
Paid to Blog
It seems that the medium of the blog has come full circle or full bloom and one is now solicited, and renumerated, for one’s formerly private or random or sketchy thoughts. In this venue, in the next few weeks, I’ll be publicly thinking about: my new gray kitten, Myshka (that’s Russian-in-English for “little mouse”); the imminent homebirth of my oldest, dearest friend’s first child (a single mom at 42 and I’m going to be the “birth partner,” ie, hand-crusher); Jennifer Moxley’s new book Clampdown; some great private ideas I’ve had over the years; and some of the joys and woes of being a one-woman publishing house—I’m the editor and publisher of Fence, a literary journal, and Fence Books. I’ll start in soon on the woes.
. . . Days and days later, I apologize for my delayed start-up with the best excuse in the world, or so it seems to me: After thirty-six long hours of labor, three hours of pushing, I am a godmother. Being in the room for all that was possibly the most fun I’ve ever had in my whole life, not counting the time I’ve spent writing poems (I wonder how many hours that amounts to?), which counts not quite as effort, not quite as recreation, and certainly not as labor, though one labors to create certain conditions in order to be able to write poems.
Welcome to little Jack, 8 pounds 14 ounces, a most chill little boy. A strange sense of the ending of possibility accompanies a new child, and I found myself thinking today that it might be related to the recklessness with which we call a poem a poem. When a new child arrives it is the death of imagination: No, this is the child who was waiting there for you, inside you, or at the orphanage, or wherever you get your children. Not any other child. None of the dreams you had or the unnamed phantasms is your child, and none of those will come to bear. But this, most particular, most finite in its self, though graced of course with whatever portion or quotient of infinite possibility can still manifest in a human (probably not quantifiable). Similarly, or so it seemed to me today after leaving mother and new person settled comfortably, visibly bonding even through all their limitation, the poem that one grabs or wields, or musters, is a more than a little bit of closure. But the closure of birth, unlike that of death. Orgasm, now orgasms, that’s a little bit of death, right?
Next time maybe I’ll tell you about my feelings of inadequacy reading Lisa Robertson’s Magenta Soul Whip. That lady grabs the words out of the ether with infinite composure.