Monday, March 29, 2010

How Will You Know Who Anyone Is

At least once a week I think about Keith Newton's poem, "I Lived Among Girls." This poem somehow encompasses everything you've ever read and everything you've ever felt. It's cyclical in the way Keith Newton is with his poems--controlled yet with quite expansive growth, reaching, a honing in, layering, then a letting go. "I Lived Among Girls" addresses searching, understanding. First there's an acknowledgment that what we're all looking for is kind of the same, something we want better or back, something we've never had before, something someone else has, something from someone else. Beauty. All the people who come and go in our lives get blurred and we don't mean for it to happen, but it does. When they are not blurred, we recognize how different we are, how strange we are. "Let us see how far away we are." The force of experience weighs on our memories.

You probably already saw this on Jules' blog a long time ago, but the poem was made into a film. The poem collaborates both with the Portastatic song, "I Wanna Know Girls" as well as images from the film. Newton refracts "I wanna know girls" to "I lived among girls" and does this quite a bit with other lines, such as "I wanna draw your outine" to "I knew them by their outlines." There's a muli-presentation of getting, wanting, understanding, being confused that is extraordinarily powerful. This was the first poem film I ever saw and I can't believe how easily the poem incorporates both film and song, without taking away from either genre. I love the opening sequence, that the poem doesn't start until the airplane is out of view. The poem is cyclical the way the song is cyclical, the way the images return to the wintery landscape of the tarmac.

"We travel to you and will be sent away.
We travel away and will be called back.
Among men, I was disciplined in my approach.
Among girls, I withheld the ruin I had seen."

Have a look/listen/read: