Friday, May 29, 2009

Neptune goes retrograde

Idealism goes haywire.

Since inspiration will be harder to find these days, here is something to lighten your life, an Untitled poem from William Packard, poet, playwright, novelist, editor and founder of the New York Quarterly.

I met Bill back in college, on a recommendation from my advisor. I desperately wanted to be published in the Quarterly, but was always rejected — and even despite becoming friends with Bill, my precociousness at 18 did not comprehend why he didn’t want to publish me along with Anne Sexton, W.S. Merwin, Sharon Olds, Charles Bukowski and James Dickey. However, I always respected his advice and loved our long conversations throughout coffee shops all over downtown New York. The last time I saw him was a few years before he died, his health was already declining, so I visited him at his apartment, we talked about writing and he sent me off with a few books. Among them was his, “To Peel An Apple.”

In the book is my favorite poem of his, which I heard during a lecture of his, and a decade later, I chose to read the same poem at my friends' wedding in which I officiated....Yes, I am an Internet minister and I married two friends in my pink tutu, with all the guests in the ocean during high tide. Bill’s poem made people cry. Although they were all quickly able to recoup to smiles with the ceremony I wrote, that blissfully had us feeling the love for my two friends and has us all back in our cars off to party within 10 minutes.

Without further ado...

HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT i mean considered all the starving in this world & no i don’t mean orphans holding empty plates & hungry no i mean the starving for that one essential known as love just think of all the cities right now everywhere O some alight & some asleep & think of all the rooms within these cities think of all the people now who sit within these rooms & wait & wait & waiting & the less courageous people who go out and leave their rooms to drink & think of all the artists painting passion in their loneliness just think of all the starving maybe going on right next to you right here right now & maybe just a little in yourself?

& LIKEWISE HAVE YOU EVER REALLY THOUGHT i mean considered all the people who every minute of their (call it) lives are going out to hell (or rather hell is coming into them) because they cannot love because they never had enough to start a chain reaction anywhere because they never really knew the real reason for smiling because they are afraid because they know death is always & only the denial of their love & so they are afraid these people & they also starve hideously & maybe you too you starve a little in your inability to love?

WELL & IF YOU HAVE THOUGHT THESE THINGS i mean considered them then look across this park to where this young girl puts her arm around this young boy draws him down upon her how they lie together now his head resting gently ultimately next to hers & O my god the secret center of the sun could not contain such radiance it is alive & life & if you do not know what i mean if you have never really been that boy or girl then it is hidden from you you will never know & I could never tell it to you in a hundred thousand fifty poems.