Proctalgia Fugax Is Pain or Cramping Felt Around Your Buttocks and Rectum.

What the fuck was that? You that that was weird? Honey, my shit's only just beginning. This is a warning.

I want to say a few things about the poem I posted a couple of weeks ago, Proctalgia Fugax.

I kinda don't want to explain my work, but I also kinda do, because I hope you won't just dismiss it as weird or incomprehensible. There's a method to my mumbo jumbo.

First off, poetry (art) isn't a puzzle or a code to crack. At least for the stuff I make, I assure you there's not a hidden meaning to be deciphered.

But that doesn't mean that my weirdness is nonsensical, random, or meaningless. Of course it's all of those in the grand scheme, but I'm actually trying to express something in everything I make.

By telling you the work isn't a puzzle, I'm not saying you don't have to put a little effort into grokking it. The effort I'm speaking of is mental, but not intellectual. The effort is minimal. The effort is this: get out of the way!

Don't over-think anything, just listen to the words. Take everything at face value. No word, phrase, or sentence is more or less important that any other. Poetry is an attempt to create images with words.

The first line in the poem is simply,


I don't know what that means any more than you do. But I saw it on a sign while driving and it made a little dent in my brain. I wondered if it was a name of a person or a business. The sign didn't seem to be attached to anything I could see, besides a fence. So I snatched it up thinking it might be useful in a poem.

The second line,

teh land of the dead

is an acquisition from Mastodon (which looks very much like Twitter). I appropriate all kinds of stuff, can't help myself. I was a shoplifter child.

The misspelling of 'the' was key to why I liked this phrase. It may be a typo, but it also may not be. teh

I don't know if I would have appropriated this line if it read, "the land of the dead." It's an interesting image, to be sure, but the question of the typo enhances its complexity, and broadens its (potential) implications.

(Don't worry. I'm not going through the whole poem one line at a time.)

The point here is simply that everything is intentional. I choose words and phrases deliberately. I save, sort, and arrange them in various ways.

If you're not familiar with a microblogging "feed," which is what Twitter was, it is a daunting thing, hard to make sense of. At a glance, it looks like a bunch of random snippets of text that may or mayn't be related to each other. The incomprehensible shock of it, and the steep learning curve required to decipher it, is why Twitter was always one of the smallest social media sites. But I took to it, and eventually became addicted.

Alas, it is no longer a nice place to visit.

There are those who say Mastodon is even more difficult to grok or get started with, but it isn't really. Sure, there are technical differences, but the face of it remains a feed of many disparate voices shouting to be heard over each other.

It's not for everyone.

One of the features of Twitter and other microblogging platforms was a limit on the number of characters one could use in a single post. It used to be 140, but was later upped to a whopping 280. The count includes spaces. (This paragraph uses 328 characters if we count spaces.)

This constraint resulted in a lot of liberties and shortcuts taken, which only made things even more confusing for the uninitiated. But for someone who likes language play, it was a lot of fun.

Mastodon is less restrictive with character counts, but it's still considered a microblogging platform, so the language used there can be just as interesting as it ever was on Twitter.

I don't know why I'm compelled to use appropriation for my writing and art. I've never given it much thought. When I see something that makes me go, "huh?" I like to hold onto it, to meditate on it. And sometimes I want to respond to it.

From inside my head, the world is a bizarre place. I see divinity and madness everywhere. When I try to make sense of any of it, I am alternately awed and confounded.

I'm getting old and with that comes a lot of feeling tired. I don't mean in a despairing way. I just mean physically and mentally tired. Writing is hard work and I don't want to work that hard any more. So, I'm looking for shortcuts. I want to say more with less words. What is poetry after all except an attempt to say the unsayable, to communicate beyond and outside of intellect?

That's it. I'm done. I could write a lot more about what went into the creation of Proctalgia Fugax. But it would all be a lie. I would just be making it up. Like I did above.

The truth is that I didn't give nearly as much thought to writing Proctalgia Fugax as I did to explaining it here. I am explaining it after the fact.

I saw the movie Stop Making Sense a few weeks ago for the first time. Wonderful concert movie. Maybe the best ever. They gave out little red stickers after the show with those words on them and nothing else. Juno saw one the other day, and repeated it a few times. Hearing that phrase in her young voice was magical.

I'm done with making sense.