What can I say? A bitch is like a liar who finally gets to the truth and then hides it. If the truth is desirable for the poet who is after some form of truth then bitching is an articulation and honest form. For those poets who notice disturbances in the world, that is truths that not everyone notices, then the art of bitching is not just art plus bitching, nor is it a lazy art by way of bitching, nor bitching by way of art. One might say that bitching is for the disgruntled and unsatisfied, or it is for those who are incapable of finding inner peace and acceptance. I say that bitching is a technique, a representation of both the self and the world. Much like most any other art, bitching doesn’t just happen as a result of a bad mood or bad day; rather, it is an expression of a moment or it is an interpretation. It is a way in which the self allows for conversation with another part of the self, or a way to put a voice to a memory. The most artful bitching comes from the inner bitch, the bitch that fights back against the world, but before doing so this bitch part of the self is in unison with the beholder and sees the world as it is— at least as it is perceived at any given moment before the bitch part of the self joins the conversation. Now, this act of separating the self and calling one part the bitch might be a plea of insanity for some, but I ask you to take a look inward and see if you have a bitch in there that is itching to come out.
The word of the day is bitch and it is up to you, reader, to recognize all the bitch moments of your day, the bitch sky with beautiful bitchy clouds, and when you get really comfortable and good at being your bitch-self you will want to read or compose some bitch poems. You may consider rereading some of your favorite poems and begin looking for any bitches that may have been there all along. I have recently discovered a bitch in Wallace Stevens’ poem “Thirteen Ways Of Looking At A Blackbird.” Where there is order there is room for un-reality as well as reality; where there is disorder there is reality. And, between reality and un-reality a sudden notice of the world about is hardly sudden. An element of surprise comes with distinction. The differences are not what are at stake in Stevens’ poem, but the ability to identify what is not different and then the way in which the poet (or reader) chooses to perceive the world becomes a preference. The opening stanza situates an image perched upon a tree limb in plain sight. Here the sighting is of the bird, and the bird is looking back as if this part of nature is partially within. This might also be part of the self that is in fact the seer. Now, it might be a stretch to compare this concept of the split-self to my idea of the bitch part of the self, but it is here, within the mountains, the stillness, and the eye of the bird that man recognizes the self. And, in such a moment there are fewer differences between the reader looking at the page looking back, and the bird looking at the world looking back.
Among twenty snowy mountains,
The only moving thing,
Was the eye of the blackbird.
Who is caught in the act of looking? Nature looks at man and recognizes itself. Or, maybe this part of the self, this part of nature is in fact the seer. It is both without and within nature where man searches for him/herself, for truth. Now, it might be a stretch to compare this split-self to my idea of the bitch part of the self, but again, it is in this moment of the poem where there’s room for the self to embrace what is real, what is both internal and external, what is parallel to humanity, and what is not. There is a slight objection of the self too, and as a result of such a protest comes what I am calling the bitch part of the self. Here, the bitch, in a way, contradicts what is real, what is not present, what is beyond the eye, what is both still and in motion. The second through fifth stanzas draw out this act of recognition and the rest of the poem continues to claim the world, as the self knows it, inclusive of the knowledge of the bird. It is as if the bird will only know the truth and the self who speaks in this poem finds acceptance in not knowing anything other than what this truth is capable of: existing. I am not calling Stevens’ blackbird a bitch, though I am tempted to. I am calling upon the concept of perspective and saying that bitching might just be the next new form of criticism.
Some of the most beautiful moments in life are agitations or the result of some kind of disorder. Take a look at Wallace Stevens and the reality of his poems, his images. Stevens often begins with one reality and proceeds to jump to another as if to converse and translate what is by first, seeing the universe, then, saying it, and third, he sort of gives it away, or relocates it. Is the saying part always going to be considered bitching now? I doubt it! My intention here is to just create something for someone to get
pissed off about -- to get the critics annoyed enough to say something -- a prompt if you will. Well, what it really comes down to is that I made all of this stuff up about bitching as an excuse to bitch in my poems. I thought I’d drag someone down with me, and who better to drag down than someone who can’t be dragged down, like Stevens. All that a poet will go through just to get to the point sometimes…I mean, I live in my own little bitch world, which I will describe in another post . . .