Now I know why I used to say that, and what it hid.
Right now I am finally following back the river of time where I was progressively bound, evidently with my eager submission or else deluded fantasies of being powerless. Part of it I was. Part of it was quite assuredly was that submission, although with illusions of coming freedom. Surely my mother’s marriage…living with her sister…believing whole-heartedly in a cruel God… But then if I had resisted, how much good would it have done? Whenever I did, I was punished. I was punished for doing too well.
I walk, I say, the rivers of time, and backwards, for a while. I was never going to be a good man. I was always going to hide. It seems my thought of both was in error.
Before I could enter first grade at the age I did, I had to be tested. Thoroughly. Twice, once by a psychologist and once to ensure I could understand the teaching materials. Remember, this is Oregon and that was the 1950s.
I already knew everything in first grade except math. I had problems with dyslexia for the first three years of school, although I only mentioned it once. [b:d, B:D, e, f and s are the ones I recall] Math tied me in knots until I [the word does not exist, however it is something I learned to do then and now constantly do; it is very similar to using an abacus to do math; also some relationship to ‘haiku’ [:actually, words/ideas contracted as much as possible+1] and origami (as well as using fractals software).
By 3 years later, I had learned to lie about what I knew. I had to claim to know less. That was just after my adoption.
Two years later, I tested above high school graduate.
Two years later, I tested as being able to challenge any course in Bachelor-level college except math. My parents wouldn’t allow it. At fifteen I was offered a scholarship all the way through Dordt college. My adopted parents wouldn’t allow it.
I needed one credit and one class to graduate when I entered my senior year of high school, and by the time I graduated from high school I had begun to live in rage. I had been promised to graduate from bootcamp E3 rather than E2 with a guaranteed A school. I would be able to become an officer (I turned that down, incidentally).
And in 1972 I was forced to become a ‘traffic checker’. I was too young. I wasn’t an E5 (I was a fucking E3). I was on my first enlistment. The DNC-5 said that all messages would be spelled correctly with correct punctuation and grammar. I enforced that. Someone pointed out to me I’d lose my privileged job if I kept on doing that with George Steele’s messages (look up Admiral, Commander Seventh Fleet, say, 1973). They would start checking me for drugs, for instance, instead of warning me about tests. I became more of a stickler. They gave me a higher security clearance and for about three years I knew…EVERYTHING about the Vietnam war. There was a minor addendum to that, no one else except the admiral did, which meant if I whispered one thing–if I screwed up once–if I ever lost control…why then, you see, they would know it was me. Out of thousands of military personnel. I had spies in foreign ports try to befriend me–I had our own spies test me. I was warned I’d be followed and then I was.
And in 2012 they finally more or less admitted it. “We don’t know precisely what Mr. [Charles] knew.”
By the way, Snowden is and was an idiot.
as in memento mori sort of thing. My pain is subsiding to the merely unbearable and I’m beginning to write “offline” [back to the short story become novel] again as well as feeling a poem or thirty coming.
About poetry. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t actually written any number of poems recently. I have a photographic memory with that complete exception. The exception even goes so far as to without doubt recognize my own handwriting and being unable to remember ever having written a poem, although generally I think I do remember it.
The problem is that for me a poem is an event of consciousness which is then recorded in a sort of shorthand. The short hand is not the event itself, or even a record of the event, but rather of the realization involved; it is a statement rather than a record. It is a note, not a recapitulation or a portrait. The attempt to preserve beauty is in respects incidental.
This means that in respects calling my poetry free verse or even for that matter poetry could be also called error. However, no current language offers any equivalent mechanism for performing that function. It’s also true that as far as I can tell it has rarely served said intended function–but then occasionally it has. One cannot enlighten another, because one cannot look through another’s eyes and then present the vision to her or him. The looking must be theirs, both effort and reward.