a reminder to myself

May 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

from ariel gore:

Looking back, di Prima recognizes what is true: Had she opted to stay that night, “there would be no poems. That is, the person who would have left a friend hanging who had done her a favor, also wouldn’t have stuck through thick and thin to the
business of making poems. It is the same discipline throughout.”

The same discipline.

And discipline, like motherhood, is good for the soul. Poetry is good for the soul. Responsibility to all our dysfunctional relationships is good for the soul. The archetype of the selfish male artist tells us that we can’t manage all these things at once, that we can’t be simultaneously responsible to children, babysitters, self, and art, that we have to sacrifice, to abandon-but we know that’s a lie.

As I write this, Kerouac has been in his grave for nearly forty years. Diane di Prima is down in San Francisco, mother of five children, author of thirty-five books of poetry and several memoirs, powerhouse, and twenty- first- century radical.

We don’t need children to be happy, but motherhood has taught me this: to experience joy, we have to be able to honestly experience darkness, too. In responsibility to relationship, we build bodies of memory and life experience that we can be proud of. Motherhood has taught me that the opposite of happiness isn’t struggle. It isn’t even depression. The opposite of happiness is fear and obedience.

In Revolutionary Letters, di Prima writes, “Be strong. We have the right to make the universe we dream. No need to fear ‘science’ groveling apology for things as they are, ALL POWER TO JOY, which will remake the world.”

Three cheers for di Prima, for motherhood, for the courage to make the universe we dream.

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