Each individual person, everybody, everyone has their own music within their being. Part of the poet’s responsibility is to help or guide the reader, or listener, towards finding (& creating) their own music.
Because the heartbeat is a sacred “thing” – or, a sacred no-thing. Many times, sacred. So sacred, in fact, that even the mere idea of a sacred thing, action, or motion towards the meaning of sacred—is the source of one’s own knowledge, and the “storage” space for one’s own felt experience. Yes, I will posit here, the heart is the individual’s self-knowledge loading dock.
The individual heart of a person & the collective heart of the people must not be parallel lines that meet in infinity. This is not a craft essay per se, however, it is important to note that here, the poet’s craft is one vehicle, or vessel, through which the individual poet’s individual heart & rhythm can meet with the collective heart of the people, or, more precisely, one’s poetry practice, adherence to the desires, demands & expectations established by the individual poet via the practice of poetry…one’s poetry practice is simply a mode of tuning & fine-tuning one’s own heart-rhythm in tandem with the collective heart-rhythm of the people. With the collective heart-rhythm of planet Earth. This is how (hypothesis) the planet develops its aura, which can be seen from many miles away deep in outer space. That’s whole ‘nother essay though, ha ha ha.
The heart is magnanimous. Messy. A corn maze with crop circles and slumped scarecrows. Red-eyed bats swooping for your cranium. Some of them get so close and screech so loud and whoosh their wings so strong, you envision one of them carrying you off into the sky by the thinning skin of your cranium, like a carrier pigeon with a letter. The heart. A labyrinth. A match book on the counter next to rows of rose bushes in the mind. But the heart is not confined to the 5 senses. Which, I believe, is not a minor detail. The 5 senses can influence and affect one’s heart-rhythm & typically do. However, one’s own thinking & one’s one conjured mental processes can also influence the heart-rhythm.
Since the individual poet is a part, or shares a portion, in the collective heart-rhythm….that is, what is the collective heart-rhythm of this planet made of besides the total sum of individual heart-rhythms of each breathing, feeling, thinking human being & variously heart-based creature & plant on this planet?
I bet you’ve maybe heard of a kind of lettuce called hearts of romaine, for example. Is that an accident? If romaine lettuce has a heart, and you just ate it, so you know the heart of romaine lettuce is at lest as real as the language you’re using to describe & etch it with the markings of existence—& you can taste hearts of romaine in your mouth...since the individual poet shares a portion in the collective heart-rhythm of the planet, it is imperative that we take our work seriously. Even when we’re playing, I think play can be serious business as well—if for no other reason than play is a reprieve from the truly serious (& potentially soul-devouring) business of acting & facepainting that men & women perform day in & day out wherever they find themselves among the social hierarchy & societal (dis)order of any given day.
Even when we’re playing with words, playing with language, arranging certain formations of ideas, concepts, having fun with it, etc—we have to take our efforts seriously because this is also work & whatever you focus on, whatever you put your attention & efforts on & behind, you catalyze, you are claiming & upholding something of importance, something of a priority, for that thing, that process, that action.
This work of a poetry practice is not important because someone says it is, it isn’t important because I say it is. Daniel Cyran is nothing. Ignore myself & just listen to the words flow from the page, or the screen, to your eyes & to your heart. Weigh & try what you’re seeing with your heart, try it on for size. Move with it. Sit still with it, walk it out. Walk it in. Listen with the gut. See with the heart.
If a poet does not feel their work is important, I do not want to read their work. Sure, there is now a metaphorical tight-rope presented, because I also do not want to read the work of poets who have an inflated sense of importance for their work. Finding out if the poet feels their work is important is usually easy, while finding out if the poet has an inflated sense of importance is usually a bit more foggy-laced travels through different mind-pathways. At the end of the day though, I’d rather read a poet who has an inflated sense of importance for their work, than a poet who doesn’t find what they’re doing even to be worthwhile.
If I can say one thing with absolute certainty in this essay, it is this: I've felt like my work was worthless before, like it wasn't worthwhile, like it wasn't a worthy pursuit, either for me or anyone else. I've felt like what I was doing was not important & how often in the past I was guided more by boredom on the mental plane...or other less desirable motivations in place of the feeling that what I was doing mattered or was important, even if only to me. Say, I've even seen some have prosperous careers on boredom. It can happen.
Okay, I can say two things in this essay with absolute certainty: I have sometimes had an inflated sense of importance for my work. When I notice this inflation or ego-painting going on with a poem, or with a thought, or with something I’m doing at the time; this is when I need to stop. Let go. Breathe & sit back a bit. Ease up the knuckles on the wheel, take the foot off the gas, etc.
The ego glosses over its lines with a mentally stimulating gilding which covets all & appreciates none. This is also part of where I feel generosity, or anything truly of goodness, comes from—the positive literally exists because of the negative. And vice versa. Symbiosis, or, a union of opposites. If I zoom out from this idea for a second, I will also posit here, or remind my dear reader, since this is not a new idea at all—I’m not introducing anything new when I say that the universe is ruled by contradiction, and that opposites cannot exist without one another. Polarity is a universal law.
Think about it. When you look out at the stars, you wouldn’t see the stars without the mysterious, black space surrounding the stars, holding the stars like one might hold a baby dove or small bird in the palms of their hands. If you spend time watching candles like I do, you know that the “wind” or the air surrounding the flame holds the candle flame. Same idea. The light of the stars is held by the absence of the light of the stars. The candle flame is held by the absence of flame. So it goes.
Because at this point, when I feel too much of something, whether it be importance...or anger, lethargy, hunger, fullness or…ego-glossed & varying delusions—there needs to be mental oppositions to these phenomena. On the mental plane, there needs to be opposition to the ego before these thoughts transfer onto the physical plane. Or else the whole shit, the brain—from the stem to the crown—& the mind, the mind goes haywire & one’s discernment, which can usually be a reliable compass on the mental plane, can begin to deteriorate & malfunction.
So the opposition on the mental plane to inflated self-importance, or to the ego’s prodding & pulling at the idea that one needs to feel what they are doing is important, and one also needs to have discernment to see, or try to see, where their work fits in with the Big Picture—have you ever looked out at the stars & black space between them & wondered? That’s the big picture I’m referring to here.
There is no over there over there. There is no over there. There is only here. Hear yourself. Listen. The dance of life isn’t always set to external music. What is called improvisation is often a simple adherence to the music already present, perhaps previously created & found within oneself.
People have their own music. Each individual person has their own music. And homo-sapiens, human beings, also have a collective song. All of life has a collective song. Raven & crow & macaw have a heart in the collective song. Ant & ant eater have a heart in the collective song. Rock & stream & tributary & ocean have a heart in the collective song. Black man & woman have a heart in the collective song. Indigenous man & woman have a heart in the collective song. Every race & creed of creature with a heart, has a heart in the collective song. Man, woman, child—and every social denomination in between, have a heart in the collective song.
One problem we as a species run into, I think, is when there is opposition to the process of seeing another heart. Heart recognizing heart in the collective song. Instead of a heart recognizing heart, we human beings are placed (& often place ourselves, are coerced or forced) into social & economic situations where a heart is not necessarily allowed or enabled to recognize another heart in the collective song. This happens all the time, every day & every hour.
So, this is part of the circumstance a poet is faced with—how can we bring the attention back, how can we create a possible return? How can we invent (from seemingly nothing) a possibility of return for the person witnessing, or experiencing, or interacting with, or listening to, or seeing the poet’s work—how can we create the possibility for our audience to return to the primal & ancient recognition & realization that allows the human being, that allows the river, that allows the sky & clouds, how can we create a possibility for a focus to see a heart to another heart? This is part of my poetry practice, and this is always one of my material & spiritual goals with my poetry practice: the recognition of one heart by another heart & another heart, the realization that the collective song, the collective heart-song of life reverberates & sings through & for & with every living being on this planet.
*Note: This essay is included in RESUSCITATIONS, my debut poetry collection. Click here to order your copy.