“I have no liking for prisons, Master Li. Sometimes I suspect that we build our traps ourselves, then we back into them, pretending amazement the while.”
• Dream addresses Master Li (SANDMAN #74, The Exile)
There is another great quote in this issue regarding the evasion of responsibility but for now we will stick to the idea of traps, a thread that recurs through the run of Gaiman’s SANDMAN as Orpheus, a being equal parts function and devise, is quite attune to the nature of tools.
This is where I find myself today as I sweat over a manuscript that is trying to find a clear voice on the page but more often that not remains reactionary to the voice of the stage with my early writing entrenched in the first person narrative “I got a story to tell ya” voice of slam and my later pieces doing a 180 degree turn that has me running backwards from performance poetry.
I am also feeling quite foolish at the idea that I could whip up a manuscript in a relatively short time. This was going to happen sooner or later and I am glad that it’s happening now because I want to return to the point where poetry is in my mind all the time.
I have spent the last three years wearing multiple poetic hats- writer, editor, curator, host, promoter, self-promoter and performer. The last one is becoming a role that I am slowly walking more and more away from. At one point, I was on a 39 month streak where I was featuring somewhere or the other at least once a month. Current features lined up for 2006—One. And I am thinking of dropping that one as well.
None of this takes away from what I consider makes me a poet but it does signal a shift in how I am going to be attacking my poetry this year with journal submissions replacing featured gigs as my main impetus for writing. The toughest part of this will be the visualization of a core audience and how they will hear the poems in the mental stage I will be constructing since I sill feel the oral tradition of poetry is very key to my poetic voice and how I feel poetry, in general, should be experienced.
More to come later but for now, I got work to do.
• Master Li asks Dream a final question
(SANDMAN #74, The Exile)
“Lord — what was it the barbarian said, as the riders vanished?”
“‘Omnia mutantur, nihil interit.’ ‘Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost.’ Fare you well, Master Li.”