samedi 19 janvier 2008

Nothing's Going to Change My World

It's been over one week since I've been in New Orleans. Today, for instance, I trekked over a mile across snow in my jungle combat boots to the university. I now live Downtown, with a new address, which I'll happily give to anyone willing to pay postage for communication.

Mostly what I do is look at my watch, which has two beautiful timezones on it. It keeps me steadfast. I know that no matter what I do here, it will be a form of waiting. Winter, I've heard, is long in the northern lands. You've ruined me, Wallace Stevens.

I am an artist here. Specifically an American artist in Canada. A Cajun artist in Acadie. But what I really am is an imposter. An artist in artifice. I am not a cultural martyr. And although this project is for making a link between these two cultures, their burden will not be my yoke.

I am saying this as I come to a close on my second sequence within Evangeline, which is the great journey North. I have three or four poems left to it, maybe eight or nine pages, depending on my stamina. Again, Stevens, o picture of the poet as a virile youth. You might as well hang me for redundancy.

In any case, I have a reading in Moncton on the 24th. A week later, I will be in New York, preparing for Lent.

samedi 5 janvier 2008

You say you want a revolution?

The last I posted, if I recall, was about a hurricane, a storm, barrelling through Moncton, barrelling through my life, my work. And now, I am writing this on borrowed time in New Orleans. Don't worry: I will be back on my tour of duty later this week. It is probably forty to sixty degrees colder in Moncton right now than it is here. I would bet.

I honestly don't know what to say since I've last written. The last few months have given new meaning to the idea ruin value, at least for me. The idea of beautiful dissembling, the shards of a former reality shown to be nothing but dissimulations, just gaudy façades of a former, more idealistic era. I, of course, finished the first third of Evangeline. Now I write about the great exile North, a voluntary sequestering, a minor conquest, a minor treasure. I will begin the deconstruction of Acadie soon.

As far as travel goes, maybe I've lost myself in it. The idea of home doesn't quite exist the same way in French as it does in English. There is no direct translation with the nuance and aplomb of home. With the variegated images, the smell of vanilla, the warmth of flesh on flesh. Right now, it's as if I want to echo Duras's screenplay: ELLE: J'ai tout vu à Hiroshima. LUI: Non, tu n'as rien vu. I don't know anything.

Perhaps this is what le Grand Dérangement means afterall: the loss of knowledge, the annihilation of all the former myths you told about yourself, the endless and endless waiting for the next thing to define you, give you shelter, give you repose, devastate you. This will be the title for my second sequence in Evangeline, the part about driving to Canada: Le Grand Dérangement, the great upheaval, the great moving, the diaspora, the exile. You see, the difference in my telling is that the threat of exile is never from without, but from the self, the oblivion of the love relationship, and the comfort in thinking you know what the right thing to do is. The threat is volition.

If this is not indication enough, let me be clear: I am back in action.