My Dreams Are Eyes Tonight, paper collage, 2021
we must relearn to see innocence a woman grows older and wishes she could unsee the world could dig her fingers in a patch of old snow make love under a stop sign with or without headlights for her, a chair is not a chair but a ballad for an unknown lover a tale of turquoise, velvet gloves, and pianos the insomnia of inner freedom an acre of utopia she is the shape of velvet her eyes play hopscotch with the lawnmowers of infinity if these illusions had helmets if these treetops were dreamless, skyless if nirvana was electricity in a jar this waking would make me feel no less alive than a cardboard symphony than the art deco of this dream late, but beautiful
While I rarely begin my poetry (or any creative endeavor, for that matter) with a preconceived idea or concept, that’s not the case with this poem. An idea struck me late last night, and I found myself torn between wanting to express it creatively, through poetry and collage, or more straightforwardly in a prose post. And as I couldn’t come to a clear decision (and I felt that what I had to say in prose could be said in fairly short order), I opted for both.
What occurred to me was this: we must relearn to see innocence, to see goodness. Of course, it’s impossible to become desensitized to violence, to cruelty, to the kinds of monstrosities, valuelessness, mundane ugliness that come along with being “worldly,” “socialized,” “civilized,” etc. without also becoming desensitized to goodness. Specifically, I think goodness is something we can actually, physically see (right along with the soul in things). And learn not to see as we grow accustomed to the world.
It then occurred to me that maybe that’s what growing into oneself means, at least in part. Being able to see—really see—the good in others, the soul in them, which is also to experience the soul within ourselves. To dispel the monsters, the inner predators, or at the very least, be able to put them in their place. And you can’t do that if you can’t see them—if you’re still looking at the world through un-innocent eyes. I suppose that’s all, really. Nature, art, poetry are all sources, all help to undo the knots in our perception, destroy old forms, see our world as if for the first time. And perhaps, literally, get a glimpse of goodness.