A rising toll betrays safe passage.
Interest dims as hidden fees lace the bridge.
D E T
T D T E
E. D E H N
E I I N E T
A P N M F B E
L Y A T S E R V
G B S S E A E I O
S T E S S R S S D K
R I O T A A E H L G E
A I N L R F G S I A E. D.
A R L N N E T C N O T R
O L G D S. E O D V E F
I P A C R V O I X L
I N O T E U D T A
C U O R G E U T
N P E H, S R T
S, D P T E E
I R H S R
E F I
A rolling pin dances.
Countertops, covered in dough,
Provide the textures for flattering.
Even the identical or seemingly similar can take a variety of form. It’s the job of the poet and the creative to look at our surroundings in as many ways as possible. We should be able to look at things above and beyond what face value dictates. This can be accomplished through identifying symbols and metaphor, or it can be as intricate as the reconfiguration of words, phrases or ideas.
All things have a multitude of faces, a myriad of possibility stitched within their essence. Perhaps what’s taken at face value will prove to be the predominant and/or overriding image or idea. Despite authorial intent, or whatever typical reaction may be, for others, for ourselves, we should never solely defer to that judgment without exploring alternate frameworks and/or filtrations first.
These two “poems” have been arranged in a manner that forces the reader to break from tradition. In the majority of cultures, people are conditioned and accustomed to reading from left to right. By constructing these examples in the manner I chose, we are forced to accept an alternate pathway. We must adapt to the setting and attempt a coexistence with what we most likely feel uncomfortable doing.
This exercise allows the reader the experience, albeit simplistic in overall design, of immersing oneself into just one of the many possibilities that exists in everything. I may have set these pieces up in certain manners, but who’s to say that meaning could not be gained by a traditional reading of the pieces. While most would likely see an incomprehensible and meaningless stream of letters, it’s also possible that their may be others out there that will harness meaning, see things that are not visible to most. Is this then an improper interpretation? Of course not, simply ignoring the possibilities that may exist, even when particular meanings have been overlooked, unconsidered or even incomprehensible to the author, is limiting in scope. Opening range and expanding possibility is what we strive to achieve. This is especially true for the creative and the poet alike, where, at times, the monikers often become blurred, hence merging the separate, yet similar definitions, into one.
By altering vision, by opening and expanding your comfort level you are living courageously. When you allow yourself this courage, you therefore allow yourself the ability to not simply accept more than one reality but to look for and seek out as many alternate possibilities that you are able to find.
In doing so, you will also undoubtedly find other nuances, other ideas that are hidden or camouflaged. Sometimes these ideas are hidden on purpose; sometimes you will find that they are ones that only you will be able to see, ones where only your unique experience and understanding enable their detection and discovery.
Another idea conjured here in this discussion is the idea of randomness. Through randomness we find links and bridges, connecting words to portraits, sentences to design, patterns to theorems. Again, I shall remind you that while most would claim authorial intent is very important to the grand scheme of a work of art, which I freely include the written word into the categorization, I tend to place it’s important behind interpretation. If an author wants the reader to experience an observation, an idea or emotion, the reader should be able to, if the author did his/her due diligence, accomplish the intended goal. But when working with possibility there is no distinction between what intent and interpretation. If a drawing clearly shows a boy in a field you will see a boy in a field. But if your interpretation tells you that this boy is in grave danger, than for you, that boy is in grave danger. The manner you arrived at such a conclusion is irrelevant to a point, it’s the interpretation that matters. Perhaps you saw something in the brushstrokes that led you to your interpretation, perhaps it was the wording of a caption or a scene from something you had experienced prior that brought you to the impression mustered.
To close this article out, I will acknowledge the importance of intent as the primary rationale of the author for the creation they’ve offered to the world. The importance though cannot be simplified and in some cases perhaps it may be the only interpretation available, yet I find this notion extremely hard to swallow, if not unbelievable itself.
When working with the possibility, it’s paramount to state that you are not skewing anything. You are not destroying the author’s vision or damaging the piece’s integrity in any fashion. Being open to all the possibilities that exist, you are not eliminating the face value or the primary purpose of the author; you are simply expanding what is there to see beneath the obvious and elementary. That all said, it is possible that you may, and I’ll even go as far to say that you probably will, in certain cases, valuate your interpretation to a higher level than what the author delivered at face value. This does not mean you are belittling or degrading the work or the author, not in any facet. Instead you are acknowledging all options and then making the decision for yourself as to what you choose to interpret as most meaningful for you and yourself alone.
As an author myself, I personally savor when this type of thing occurs. When someone sees something I didn’t intend to be there or interprets my work in a manner I never considered, I feel like the muses were working through me and I became somewhat like a medium in such cases. It’s always important for an artist to feel that their work is of value, which the creation itself is often value enough for the poet or painter. When someone enjoys your contribution you get an added sense of pride and accomplishment but when something you have done strikes another on a personal level, where they opened themselves to all the possibilities that were available to them as they reflected on your words, your phrases, your art, it’s a feeling that transcends intrinsic elation all together.
Notions like this; emotions given life by such discoveries would never be possible, if the reader simply interpreted word upon word, hue upon hue. By limiting your vision, by leashing possibility, you are not only doing yourself a disservice, but also limiting the effects the piece may hold and diminishing the value present in art itself. Possibilities are endless as should be the range of what we allow ourselves to experience, whether in art or in life.