if i raised my boy the way i wrote poetry
(this is not a response to Kenny but merely a pilfering of a title in the act of its displacement settled into my own need for its new placement within my personal zeitgeist pilfered by an even more boring zeitgeist displaced as a title that has already been read but never been written)
How appropriate to send poetry month off into the sunset with these myriad postings about children, poem-birthing and sleep-deprivation. I thought it would be timely to mention a fabulous new anthology being assembled by Dana Teen Lomax tentatively titled "KinderGarde: Avant-garde Poems, Plays, Stories & Songs for Children," consisting of experimental work geared towards children, of any age, from a wide collection of writers exploring the reaches of language-making.
A book like this would pretty much show that kids are kids no matter how experimental the home. Indeed, rearing a child how one creates art calls to question the part of the brain reserved for each—the duty of spillover, to insure there is a fair amount of tincture to responsibility and freedom. Space or time, as mentioned earlier on Harriet. Time is a jot on the ride, but space…inner, outer, adrenal…room my friends, to roam (to quote Zangezi).
Imagine the litany of artists who dare view the world as they do, through their children. I remember a hilarious poem by John S. Hall a few years ago, about him as a single guy-poet calling his poems 'my babies' and nurturing them with what he thought was true parental care, but upon his daughter's birth, exploding with the realization that poems are nothing at all like babies! So it's up to the parent to choose when to be the baby, then. The answer is that the entire process is the apple, falling right under the tree.
If there were some way of pouring my child through a selection of my poems, it might be interesting to see how much of him would remain on the edges and what would get filtered through? What essence of the child survives the poem, and vice versa? How did his imminent arrival affect them before he showed up? I would start with something longer from my early days…here climb this, I'd say…imagining the longer sentences and galactic centers as verbal mazes, creating pleasure tunnels for his little hands and those huge little feet, cast in miniature from mine, right? Every morning, I have breakfast with him while mama sleeps before the day starts, before I leave him until nightime. How was your day yesterday, who rode in front of you, behind you on the train…he's in extreme 4-year old vocabulary mode, softening, chewing, luxuriating in words now. He has just started asking the question about where we go after we leave this house, and I mean really leave—that's a big little page, right there…just turned.
And maybe play catch inside the short ones, see how his coordination gains a footing on those quick line breaks…that neologismic soundplay, like so much candy for a tiny tongue. There was the time he was 14-months old and I took him to the Museum of Modern Art for Father's Day, which fell on my birthday…a cyclical sartori that happens every 10 years or so. A DADA exhibit was on display and I just couldn't pass that up, right? DADA at MOMA on my Father's Day Birthday…brilliant! Under the loudspeaker with a recording of Schwitters and Van Doesberg reciting sound poems is where we spent the most time…him smiling, his inner anarchist rolodexing the triggers set-off by the elaborate manifestations, which sounded like baby talk, which means babies are dadaists, or anarchists are babies, or parents are extremely experimental beings concocting formulas in hyperbole.
And the love poems, could I possibly discipline his little tush using the same heartbreak in which those came to light? The repetitions in the mantras and chants, echoing his button-pushing no's and imploding why's. Of course, there's no way to shield your child from the irreparable effects of your art. Fully-lived alchemical squirts, we can only defer to exhaustion and somehow extract their continuous fuel to replenish the drive.
Are you doing one of your plays now dadah? Yes, Rubio. It's a good day for a play dadah, the grass, the trees, the people. Is that your head dadah? I just need a little sleep and I'll be okay…just a little…
A self-proclaimed “lingualisualist” rooted in the languages of sight and sound, Edwin Torres was born in the Bronx and is a longtime resident of New York City. He is a poet whose highly acclaimed performances and live shows combine vocal and physical improvisation and theater. He is the author of...