Beat It

Something Something Understanding

Maybe all of this Halloween candy is making me sluggish, clogging my neurons with hydrogenated pseudo-chocolate. If chocolate is chemically similar to sex, then what is this low-grade candy bar stuff? Perhaps the equivalent of those late night chat line infomercials, scantily clad women from the 90's lounging by the pool, just waiting for your call. I managed to write a poem today, a haiku mind you, and not a very good one, but still, better than nothing. The worst part about being sick but not feeling sick, is that you can't seem to do anything but don't know why. Just a minute ago I nearly threw my camera into the sink because I was doing one thing and thinking of another. These kinds of mistakes can be costly.

Perhaps it is just seasonal. The real impetus for writing this poem was rather roundabout. Somehow I ended up flipping through "Turtle Island," by Gary Snyder. It's been long enough since I last read it that I'd completely forgotten the extent to which it influenced me when I first received it. Recently, I spent an evening picking through everything I have written since I was 18. I should clarify that there really was not a lot of material for a six year period, but there was a lot of really bad poetry. I was genuinely puzzled by much of it; I had no idea what I must have been thinking when I wrote several of these completely unintelligible pieces. Today, however, it all fell into place. There was definitely a period of time where I fancied myself as a miniature Snyder in the making, full of Beat vitality and socio-enviro-consciousness. These overly abstract poems of mine were a rather faithful imitation of Snyder's style on the outside, while perhaps lacking any of the depth or aesthetic appeal. It's nice to have that sorted out; it's never good to harbour too much disdain towards your past self.

Amongst the many seasonal ailments, I would like to nominate nostalgia for further study. Just because something strikes in all seasons, doesn't mean it isn't seasonal. Nostalgia can overtake you with little notice, catapulting you into debilitating fits of reverie. Symptoms include a distant gaze, uncontrolled relaxation of the facial muscles, sighing, and the pronounced inability to gauge whether the people you are talking to really care all that much about the content of school lunches in times of yore.

Perhaps it is the disorienting changes accompanying each seasonal transition that trigger bouts of nostalgia. Times of change make us more acutely aware of the passage of time; the finality of fallen leaves is far more dramatic than their day-to-day greenness in the summer months. In seeing a time passing, we are reminded of times preceding it, looking back through it as a new lens, like trying on a new pair of sunglasses. Whatever the exact cause, there is hope for nostalgics everywhere. Treatment includes getting out of the house and avoiding photos.