Thursday, March 27, 2008

Slut for Sound

Haven't had anything terribly profound to post -- but really, why should that stop me? Life has been, well, not very stressful for me (way less stressful than last year at this time), but somewhat difficult -- physical things, irksome things that are not worth talking about, but take up a great deal of time and brain space all the same.

But I want to talk about poetry. C. Dale asks "What makes us choose what we choose when we write?" My answer is definitely music. I don't think that's such a great answer, but it's my answer nonetheless. I play by ear, that's all. More than images, more than ideas, I'm a slut for sound -- and often the beat and vowel sounds will fill my ear even before the words are shaped. Strangely, this is not only what gets me writing poetry -- although it's a heightened experience for poetry. As I'm typing now, I hear the shape of the words before I know precisely what it is that I want to write.

Which is to say that it isn't necessarily gorgeous sounds that I seek -- no, that seek me. Rather, they are like chords that needs one note behind them that insists on being played. I think I may be a victim, more than most, of sound worms. A theme song I hear on the radio on the way to work will be in my mind for a week or more. More than that, in a compulsion almost like Tourette's, words take shape in my mouth and need to be uttered. These words are often names I hear: Moktada al-Sadr, Sylvia Poggioli, Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- all, regardless of who they are, that are like candy in my mouth.

There's an answer.