Whatever's Left of the Wild West. I think it will be Version 1. The link can be found here: http://stokastika2.googlepages.com/whateversleftofthewildwestpoem.pdf. I think there will be several "Whatever's Left of the Wild West" poems, because this theme of "degrees of freedom, degrees of constraint" from an individual perspective and the perception of "Manifest Destiny versus Human Biological Invasion" of America will always be an issue. In this poem, I explored issues of rampant development of open space and peripheral impacts. In another poem, I want to describe how the unbounded parameters of the ocean are becoming more and more bounded, not only by "knowledge constructs" from the university, but from use, management, and policy constructs from commerce and government. The more you know a system, the more it attempts to become manicured by human beings. *Sigh* I also want to explore a fisherman's construct of the Wild West. Fishermen fish from the ocean and provides food to the local community--that is one of the most rudimentary, local and purest of professions. Minimizing strings attached. While fishermen are at the mercy of the ocean, modern scientists are at the mercy of the nearly religious cliques of academic culture, public and private funding, and other pursuits of accolades. Too many strings attached for me. First fishermen of Planet Earth were scientists, and first scientists were fishermen, ranchers, farmers, cave men, hunters and gatherers, etcetera. Fishermen are not only driven by the pursuit of fish for trade of rent and other visceral needs of all organisms... and by being out in the ever-changing Amusement Park of Ocean, but they are driven by the notion of individuality, and independence, maximizing their degree of freedom from "civilization" or the land... but in turn, realizes his vital dependence and core interaction with the land. So, it's a paradoxical situation. Through fishermen's attempt to seek maximal independence, or freedom from civilization, they find themselves more blatantly tied and bound, and dependent upon the laws of the land... rather than the laws of man. At least they have maximally stripped the absurdity of human laws from their minds. But now, modern fishermen have to deal with the encroachment of human law on the ocean since there are concerns of management and health of fisheries. The encroachment of human constructs, dividing a vast blue comes with good and absurd outcomes, just like the law of the land. Fishermen were trying to be with the elements, seek freedom from the terrestrial world, and now it's being imposed on the ocean, and fishermen as a result, are not as free and as "lawless" and as "Wild Westish" anymore. But in southern California, being a commercial fisherman is as Wild West and as anti-corporate as you can get. I'd like to call this phenomenon as the PARADOX OF FREEDOM: ONCE YOU SEEK FREEDOM FROM ONE ENTITY, YOU FIND BONDAGE IN ANOTHER. AND IN THE BAREST OF ELEMENTS, YOU FIND YOURSELF INTIMATELY TIED WITH THE LAND.
This poem was influenced by two or three major elements. First of all, I recently read Gertrude Stein, and there are several elements of her work that I challenged myself to slacken on. First of all, she is VERY experimental with her writing, though quite SELF-INDULGING, in which I would rather desire to be SELF-DEPRECATING if I even exist in my writing. I would rather become the writing. Essentially the aura, or ghost. But essentially, Barry Spacks told me that Stein has a dominant streak of being an "incoherent language poet" in the genre of "language poetry" that can function as jibberish. Secondly, I found out that I missed an opportunity of meeting in person a film director by the name of Laura Dunn (Two Birds Films, Texas) who won a student academy awards. I ended up thoroughly exploring her websites, http://www.theunforeseenfilm.com and http://www.twobirdsfilm.com, and somehow the material crept deep into my psyche, as it was already in my psyche in the form of one poem I keep insisting on writing, entitled "Creeping Development" and another poem entitled "The Encroachment" (Blog 429). This poem started with the "attack of the American Dream" of "Reshaping the Future" to the notion of perceiving "Manifest Destiny" as the "A Brief History of Biological Invasion of Homo sapiens on the continent of North America," otherwise a more neutral-pessimist perception derived from "science jargon" of "biological invasion," which is ironically applied in the university to speices (plants, marine and terrestrial organisms, etc.) other than ourselves, even though our behavior of invasion brought along these tag-along species in the first place. The third, and more distant influence occurred back in a winter of despair, early December of 2006. I traveled all the way to Los Angeles to watch Alexi Murdoch perform (and now his music has finally infiltrated into the Hollywood cinema soundtrack scene), and though I heard him perform from the outside back door in chilly winds. Murdoch's lyrics remind me of Samuel Beckett; stark naked minimalism, to a point it makes me depressed. I find Nick Drake's lyrics more colored with metaphor and I don't find myself as depressed. Don't get me wrong, I love Murdoch's work, and admire him for his persistent, anti-corporate individuality in the music business, but I can get depressed because his work is too minimal for me. My writing may have a foundation of minimalism--or reducing a system to the barest of elements--but I need a collage. I need lots of layers, lots and lots of layers of consciousness to cover up the starkness of visceral rationality, visceral consciousness.
That set aside, on that fateful night of meeting Alexi Murdoch, I watched an AMAZING POET perform the "spoken word;" I forgot the poet's name. I forgot the poem. I forgot the topic, but all I remember is that I was dumbfoundedly mesmerized by his passionate work, and when I wrote "Whatever's Left of the Wild West" I had his passionate voice resonate within me.