This 2010 collection marked the fruition of my MFA work at San Francisco State University. It was mostly written in the years between 2005-2010, and so much of it is prior to my deep dive into yoga and dharma, but it's fascinating for me to return to this time and see how much the writing reflects my hunger for the kind of reformation of meaning and revelation of purpose that my later inquiries into the eastern traditions would bring.
S.T.Ds is supposed to connote sexually transmitted dis-ease (how tremendously shocking yet playful of me!!!), but also denote Satellite Terms for the Deconstruction of Self (how tremendously pretentious of me!!!). What can I say? I was a grad student in a post-postmodern writing program. I was also obsessed with deconstruction (a 20th century french philosophy of language), and fortuitously so because it was researching deconstruction and its philosophical antecedents that led me to eastern philosophy and so to yoga and dharma.
These teachings suggested to me that I was digging myself into my own rather depressing stories, and that I was perhaps too loyal to my suffering because I had learned to festoon it with pretty word pictures. I came to believe I had been ornamenting my deep dis-ease, the wounds I was trying to cover up through all kinds of distracting and damaging behavior. I was a poet--so use your imagination! Or read the bio section of any poetry anthology. We poets, whether widely published and celebrated or struggling and ignored, tend not to be paragons of sobriety or chastity. Poetry can be extraordinary journey of discovery but I had lost my way. I decided that if I wanted to heal my wounds, I would have to take down all the decorations. At which point I put my pen down, for a long time.
Now I'm looking back as I get ready to dive deeply into writing again. In these old poems, I see a person who was certainly struggling, but not completely lost. I was indeed searching, but not without having encountered some wisdom signposts that were pointing me in the right direction. My writing journey had not been leading me astray, but it was one that needed a rest stop in order to more authentically begin again. Here's some from the vault . . .