Sometimes I like to think of myself as a Zen calligrapher,
writing the poem without lifting the brush from the page.
One side straight-edge, the other Rexroth's crooked margins.
& even though the poem may be focused on one image, or
a series of related ones, at the same time there is this channelled
flow of other images, the influences that brought you to this
single spot, cropped to fit. Usually unseen, part of the mystery
of the poem.
in the sixties I read an article by William Burroughs, in
the Times Literary Supplement I think. He was talking
about his cut-up technique, & used as example the imaginary
journal of an English Lady but a journal in three columns.
The first column was what she intended to do that day, the
second what she actually did & the third what her thoughts
were as she was getting about her business. These would then
be cut up & randomly mixed to give a narrative of the
day. I excised the cut-up; but the parallel streams stayed
this to actuality in the typewriter age was extremely difficult
& so it was something I attempted only once, at a very
low level. & then I drifted away from writing for twenty-five
which time came split screen movies & TV, & word processing
packages that allowed you to columnate, use different fonts,
broaden or narrow the columns, justify one & leave the
other ragged. & I came back to poetry with it all there
loose, out for agistment. Trigger one was reading Samuel Delany's
Atlantis where he would occasionally break into two
columns of prose, independent but related. The parallel streams
drifted back towards the surface. Trigger two, the primary
poem, caught its spark from something that snagged on me from
a biography of Werner Heisenberg, exactly what I am now uncertain
but which, when written, demanded that it be accompanied by
a type of inventory, an infinite list running down the side
of the page like a record of your past website visits &
the promise of more to come. Right justified.