In between sips of skim-milk splashed coffee; in between the sharp, fragmented, ink-drags of pen and indentation of paper and the simple sketch of a fish in a lake [the fish like the hand and the cog, and the lake like piano keys and copper machinery] The Imagist explained to me the conception of music and clockwork.
And the Human Condition.
"Humans," he sketched, "have a very peculiar sense of self - it ends at our skin. Cut off my arms and I'll survive, but sever the air from my lips and... At what point did our limbs become more a part of ourselves than the sky?"
And after a moment of measuring the weight of words, he thought to me, "Man, I don't know why I get myself into this... What made me think I could write a children's book?"
I told him how I wished I could write music. You could read it in my poetry; my metaphors about sheet music and night skies. My yearning to explore worlds that my starfall has never blinked in. And it struck me, bittersweet through the roots of my wisdom teeth, how we can never choose our art. Rather I'll bushwhack through, leaving trails of half-started, stutter-stepped poems, looking for something that sings like guitar strings.
The Imagist and I, we are children of a visual age.
I try to sculpt our twenty-seven minute attention spans through sporadic hand gestures.
He told me about his trip to Montana through drawings of the people he'd met,
from the three friends of friends who were a quarter of a face or less. Like Bob, the right eye and jawline, who knew something about everything [He said it's like having a conversation with Wikipedia], to the deeply detailed dreamy girl who played the accordion.
Sometimes we wake up feeling like Mr. Potato Head, with our mouth where our eye should be.
In between sketches of friends who fell out of touch and John Ashbery poems, we gave credit to palindromes. The Imagist drew HannaH with a handlebar moustache and I realized that this poem ends when Two Creek closes - comforted by the fact that poetry can be about the simplest moments, the ones that I never understood exactly how beautiful they were until I read them in my own shaken handwriting.
In a mix-up of words, He discovered how sick he was of writing with something, rather than writing for something.
I evaluated my own pen and chewed on my tongue.
I wish I could draw portraits so that I'd remember first impressions.
When The Director showed up, we exchanged science and art. He explained to me the imaginary horizons of black holes and Hawking radiation, but even he taught it through a sketch in the top left corner of his science fiction movie script. At the foreign end of the table, The Imagist continued a conversation about the complexities of children's books, and theories someone developed through observing their attention-starved cats who bore uncanny likeness to kids, and the appeal of Furbies, while The Director asked me how I write a poem.
I told him it starts with a single line, something that zings in my mouth like cavities and canker sores, but not to take my advice because I have far too many illegitimate, ******* sons; clouds of words daunted by the clear skies of the rest of the page. After The Director's end credits, eventually I joined the foreign conversation where we had begun it, with The Imagist saying, "Our skin connects us to everything, it doesn't trap us in to our own narcissism."
And then they were gone too, each dissolved into a part of themselves and each other - to fall into place in a world that runs on six-billion beating hearts.
In between the grain of a yellow birch table that's hosted the gunfire of mouths and lonely bones, I stayed and played my part, losing my fingers in the varnish and pages of books, believing that I, my entirety, my open borderline skin, my wooden grain, my air in the wind, my ballpoint pen finger, was writing for something.