The Manuscript I’m not Editing

Or, how to get my head into the space necessary for editing is more the point. I’ve spent the morning circling the editing truck like a vulture around road-kill. I’m not waiting for anything in particular to move me–although inspiration of a heroic magnitude would be nice. I’m pondering, or so I think, a rethinking of my poetry head-space–100 pages is a lot to rethink, not that all 100 pages have to rethought, but in a way, yes, they do; the impact of one change may alter greatly a number of things (structurally anyway, but I haven’t even reached that point!). So now, I’m reading about Stanley Kunitz’s “A Living Poem”, then an essay by Mary Kinzie. This paragraph by Kinzie struck me as a way to get back into the editing mode:

Stevens thought that things, which were once human, had lost their former power to conceal themselves. But if we imagine things as having once been persons, wouldn’t they retain at least the shape of their once symbolic hulls, however little they could now hide within them? Isn’t the material world fundamentally a kind of vulnerable or inept concealment? A fly apparently buzzing in place within the web, but in a shell the spider has siphoned the strength out of, moved now only by the wind… the reflection of a stone granary in the mere… freckled leopard apricots…. Grace that has been frozen – a bicycle frame like an antelope; a submerged jar; a shoe made of willow. At the edge of a hot field, a cow shed and chicken coop; beyond these, in a forest of hard blue, the “pierced iron shadow of the cedars” (Marianne Moore). Close around them, against the male sun and the cool female forest, the stretch of ground somebody has mowed despite the desolation of these frames with their sagging silvery boards. The coop. The shed. Who abandoned them and yet comes back to mow? Don’t ask realistic questions. Patience, soon you too will sleep.

I’m going back to clip an exposed manuscript, its human-like lawn a frozen hair-do (probably already a brush-cut), but its poems still green and growing.