The screen doors pursue me.
I went 44 years without reading a screen door poem, and here in the last two weeks I’ve come across two that will fold into the Important Poems file of my mind.
But first a word on balance. Earlier this week, I shared a Gwendolyn Brooks quote about “poeting” (her word) being just one element of a lived, human life.
I went on to say: Yes, but. Yes, but creative people must sometimes say no in order to make their art. I said: It’s all in the balance, I suppose.
A reader wrote asking if I think the balance is really possible. My answer is no. I used the wrong word. I’ve never balanced my life, I’ve only juggled the various elements of it. So, if the balance (whatever that is) seems to you impossible to achieve, you’re not alone. Also, the non-art-making world may wish for us to balance rather than juggle. The non-art-making world may not understand why simply parceling out a certain number of hours per week for our creative work, for example, does not work for the art-makers. [*Returning now to say: Yes, but. Yes, but setting aside regular time is also important]. That the art-makers must respond to the art when it’s ripe for making. Or sometimes, let’s be honest, when the deadline approaches.
Making art is Other. Let us juggle avidly.
Shall we repeat with the logicians that a door must be open or closed?
BEFORE THE STORM
The poem seeks not
to depict a place
but to become one—
at the screen door.
But is he who opens a door and he who closes it the same being?