A Poet’s Path…

… doesn’t always lead to where he likes to go. This post is for a poet friend, Darryl Price, former gastarbeiter at this venue, who finds himself

« at an impasse that has come down quite heavily on me. I had my first poem published when I was twelve, I edited my college’s literary magazine, I worked in the poets-in-the-schools program, I edited my own literary magazine,read at churches, coffeehouses,fairs and weddings,used to be in a rock and roll band writing songs, but I was always able to see a future that also could contain my creative writing. Now I don’t. I’ve given it everything and it’s put my own family at risk of losing all. But I’m not going to repeat that story. It’s been said. I used my gift to the best of my ability and its brought me to the present moment. I’d say I feel glad but I don’t. I feel sad, and lost and lonely and bereft. Thank God I was able to get the poems out I did before my light dimmed so. But to you kind souls who have given me your generosity and support and empathy, I am in debt. A debt I promise to repay if ever I get myself out of this mess I’m in and am able to relight the poet in me. »

There’s been a great show of sympathy and understanding with Darryl’s plight at Fictionaut, the online writers community from where the text above was taken, and since I feel especially close and indebted to Darryl for his friendship and support, I wrote him a letter:

For Darryl The Fearless Word Tamer

dear darryl,

you’re a wonderful,
a great artist indeed,
i never find that solace
that discomfort in anybody
else’s poems that i find
in yours.

i’m very sorry to hear
that you’ve fallen
on hard times.

i strongly believe the
muse will stand by,
no matter what we decide,
& will work her magic
in mysterious ways,
if want to or even if
we don’t and often
especially fiercely
if we don’t.

but you’re the one
who expressed this
ambivalence best. you
tamed the multi-headed
gorgon of living &
working & dying
while creating
on the page better
than anyone here
who sails on this
papery vessel.

i raise my cup to you,
dear poet pal (as you
called yourself) & i
wish you more
on top of what you
already have,
the talent, the love
the friends, the words.

may many lucky birds
fly with you wherever
you’re going next as
bragi’s best wingman.

If you feel as moved by Darryl’s story as many at Fictionaut were, why don’t you drop him a line here & honor him by reading his poetry here. Do not miss out his latest publication “The Cake For God” at kaffe in katmandu. It’s magnificent.

What more suitable close to this post, and a war cry for Darryl’s journey, than Rilke’s close to Letters To A Young Poet (1908) – may these lines, spoken so long ago, speak to your own soul today with the same encouragement and energy that I derive from them, living, like most creatives, in a “rugged reality” that feels sometimes conducive, at other times hostile to the workings of the muse:

«Art too is just a way of living, and however one lives, one can, without knowing, prepare for it; in everything real one is closer to it, more its neighbor, than in the unreal half-artistic professions, which, while they pretend to be close to art, in practice deny and attack the existence of all art […] I am glad, in a word, that you have overcome the danger of landing in one of those professions, and are solitary and courageous, somewhere in a rugged reality. May the coming year support and strengthen you in that.»

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