Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Questions about Writing for the New Year

What I Can Do by Mary Oliver

The television has two instruments that control it. 
I get confused. 
The washer asks me, do you want regular or delicate? 
Honestly, I just want clean. 
Everything is like that. 
I won't even mention cell phones. 

I can turn on the light of the lamp beside my chair
where a book is waiting, but that's about it. 

Oh yes, and I can strike a match and make a fire. 

Mary Oliver's poem reminds us that poetry still exists in our digital world. We can still make fire. There is something fleshy and physical about the reminder. 

Mary Oliver is a gay writer. Mary Oliver is not a gay writer. I feel the same way about Michael Cunningham. They are lofty and ambitious and smart as hell; they transcend.

Some mornings, I am pressed to come up with a queer topic. Are they all queer topics if they're coming from me? Or are they all queer if (as Sonia likes to say) I'm "just making things up with my fingertips"?

Is queer writing necessary, or a distraction? 

Better yet, is all poetry queer? 

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