Innumerable inchoate feelings all seeking expression and definition contemporaneously are here encoded for the reader. But with myself, and with that art which I most highly value, understanding precedes expression if what is made is to be art at all. In these poems I was caught in a curiously Edenic mode. I was surrounded and imbued with a richness of griefs, and still had not one syllable to name them. I had all the full feeling a human art could cry to posses and none of the sensibility through which to express it. The chaos of my grief had borne its lapidary apple, but I had yet to eat of it and understand. Cynicism is the crassest shortcut between a full heart and an empty mind-empty but well-ordered. It is no coincidence that minimalism is the reigning contribution of the latter half of the 20th century to expression’s vocabulary. It is comprehension without being comprehensive; it comprehends through vital exclusion; it is a supreme form of denial and, as such, never makes a positive, uncynical stand, and can never be ‘proven’ wrong. Invulnerable and vapid, its objects glare in diminished insistence. Ashamedly, I must say that this twerpy type of cynicism makes its debut in lines of what follows here as well. Mostly in the toothless conclusions of the poems there is the oversimplification of a scab, and not the long-thumbed memory of a scar. Perhaps the elision of a decade will help to sort my inner chaos into outer order; perhaps selective forgetting and cowardly crowding-out of old memories with new heartaches will perform the aesthetic grunt-work that poetry demands and that my sensibility exhorts. But oh how my heart cannot wait the decade out! Ruptured, not enraptured, I ululate before my auditors-more full of sighs than songs.
Gregg G. Brown
Nov 2, 2004