Thursday, February 25, 2010

On Paved Roads and Poetry

Yes, it's been too long. No post since 2/17 which was really a 2/13 post (mysteriously disappeared so I reposted) meant for 2/14 but actually written on 1/22. So we have to go back 14 days to 2/11 and the epic Seymour post that caused eyes to well up and fists to rise (stop talking about the stupid song, Ali... talk about the cat!) if we want something relevant and new.

Where have I been? Is it possible I have been cheating on you... blogging somewhere else... with that somewhere being a different blogging platform?...

(Don't say it! No!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Have I been blogging on ...Tumblr?

Did I really start an entirely new blog with that graphics-happy small-post-friendly microblogger?

Yes. But.

It does not replace Blueprint Blue.

It does not replace Blueprint Blue.

This site here will be where you go fro my words, my daily living, my soliloquies on music and basketball.

The other site will may eventually replace BpB's sister site - the poetry-centered Take the Body With You. 

Was there really a time I thought that poetry - and poetry alone - could sustain itself? 

(And I can hear your impatient rumbles. Just tell us where to go damn it! Where is the other blog? No, not just yet.)
Poetry is wonderful. I got my start as a poet. I remember the early days well... hitting the dimly lit readings in the darkest cafe corners of sad St. Paul or maybe Minneapolis. Reading my heart out - reciting all my classics - Worms, Albatross, CompuNation, Bakersfield, Marbles - only to be met with heavy heavy silence. 

Meanwhile, Johnny PoetDude would get up there with his black-and-white composition notebook and his floppy hat and his goddamn tambourine that he held like a harp and he'd read Twine of Souls or The Low Moan of the False Witness or Mother is Sister and Father is a Salesman in a breathy tone presuming significance and the audience would swoon

When Johnny PoetDude read, girls would throw napkins with numbers on them; boys would learn from JPD and write notes on their palms because the napkins were all taken.

Full disclosure: I have never read my poetry publicly, unless you count the small wine-cooler and pizza parties attended by my movie theater co-workers and me in the mid-1980s, usually while the guy-in-charge-of-the-record-player was over-deciding what to play next. (The songs Steppin' Out by Joe Jackson and Goddamn Motherfucking Love Vigilantes by Motherfucking Rat Bastards New Order would invariably be playing at these parties.) Nevertheless, reading among friends is very different from reading to strangers. So yeah, that preceding paragraph was fiction. Except my poem's titles were real. And Johnny PoetDude - he's a real person. Rather, he is real persons. He is a composite. 

Full disclosure #2: I have attended only two poetry readings in my life and one of them was technically an open mike in a Borders in Rapid City, South Dakota in which songs were allowed and the poets were ignored. So yeah just that one reading in St. Paul with Laurel, John, and Greta.

Today, however, poetry is a tougher sell. The short bursts of creativity and raw emotion formerly housed in my poems are more frequently exposed right here at this URL. Rather than shyly express my sadness at the death of a pet or the bleakness of a lost chicken weekend in verse, I now just tell the story - reporter-style, with short bursts of clever prose mixed in with the facts.

These days, when I write poetry, I set up parameters. I challenge myself. I come up with a title - say, Unincorporated East Los Angeles #1 - and go from there. Or I force myself to write a poem as a boredom-curing exercise. In these situations, maybe I  forgot I was ever a poet until I'm faced with 10 minutes of nothing to do in a waiting room or drive-thru lane. So I get out the Rhodia notepad (orange cover) or iPhone (black rubber case) and I write (Uniball Jetstream - black 1.0 or the fingers of my own two hands touching screen). I write about the embellished past or the unlikely future. I imagine what would have happened if....


Nah, not today.

But then Tumblr comes along with their cool interface and rather amazing templates. I consider moving this whole damn blog over there. But then I realize that long text entries and Tumblr aren't exactly best friends (e.g., they have not yet figured out the HARD RETURN). And then I hear you say "yes Ali - maybe if you move over there your posts will be less... less... gratuitously lengthy?" Hey - whose side are you on anyway?

And then I remember that visual stuff has appeal too. I can experiment a little. I can pretend to be a photographer, a cataloger of fascinating images, a poet with visual supplements. So the decision is made: I will create something altogether new. It will be where my poetry and most of my visual imagery can be found. It will be on that nifty newish bloggish place called Tumblr. Blueprint Blue will stay here - perhaps forever, perhaps until September. Who knows?

The new site will link to and be linked from this very site but I will not provide constant updates telling you to go over there or here. You will do the work. Visual imagery in the form of photos I find in my internet slumming will still show up here from time to time. Maybe even photos. It will be a liquid process. I'll probably put more song files over there. Mostly words over here. The process is not a fluid one. I hate that word. Fluid. Disgusting word.


What shall the new blog be called?

We Used to Go Driving Down Paved Roads.

Why? The story behind this title is long; you don't want to hear it. (Which really means: I can't remember.) I'll say this: We did indeed go driving down paved roads. And we can say that with confidence. Lest you think I'm setting us up for failure, let me ask you this: Me and you, did we ever go driving down paved roads? Perhaps you are hesitant to say a definitive 'yes' though I know the answer. We did - you and us and them and me. We drove.

We Used to Go Driving Down Paved Roads.

But tread lightly today. There are pictures of cats and trees and well-structured sentimental poetry over there. It'll get ugly soon enough.

Orange Addendum :
I'm aware that there are ways - there must be ways - to post on one site (here?) and have the same entry to be entered at the other site. I think we're close, so close to something like this. Then, everyone can have everything. But the current available tools are not quite enough. And then there's the automatic redirect.

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