Thursday Poem – Maelstrom: One Drop Makes The Whole World Kin

It’s winter in Sydney. I’ve just come out of a cinema, it’s 11pm, the cold is constant and bracing, and my friend drops me off at the train station. The platform is empty. The occasional freight train roars by, a blur of green. The moon is shaved into a crescent by clouds. I am deeply alone, expanding with each shivering breath, and I love it. I love moments like these, moments in which I feel so in tune with the world around me that I am finally at peace in my own skin.

I get out my phone, and I begin to flick through some poems, knowing I’ll be late for this entry, but not minding so much. I had to spend the day writing a review I’ll actually be paid for, which is something I don’t talk about enough on this blog. I am a working writer, and I get paid to share my thoughts on subjects, or for poems or stories I’ve written – in fact, I’ve recently published a piece on this very subject in the new issue of Kill Your Darlings, which is a fantastic journal. A friend of mine, a published poet himself, asked me recently why I still maintained this weekly ramble. Why do it for free when I could likely get paid to do the same thing? It would be better for my career if I did it that way, he said.

In part, the reason is because if I were to do this professionally, I would have to put in a professional effort. As it is, I do that when and where I have the energy to spare, but by and large these posts are off-the-cuff. Beyond that, I was wary of this becoming work, a chore I’d try to avoid, and I love being able to publish it immediately as well. Not having to wait weeks or months for my work/thoughts to appear is incredibly satisfying – it’s also a sign that I am very much a product of my generation, of these times, in which we are wired to this network of immediacy and the rush provided by connection (supposed or real).

In any case, I guess I’m saying all this because my friend was likely right, and I may have to stop or at least scale back this routine in the near future. Hopefully, that will merely constitute a move to another publication, but that may not be the case. I’m currently operating purely on my freelancing income, and if that’s to be in any way viable, I simply won’t have the time or ability to continue as I have. With that said, I truly hope I’m wrong, because in the last eight months I’ve somehow managed to gain around 2,000 subscribers (that’s you!) to my dinky little blog about poetry. And even if 1,990 of you are bots, I’m still appreciative of it because, hey, even machines need poetry.

So, back to the scene from earlier, I’m flicking through poems on my phone and I find this simple little gem by Anne Waldman called Maelstrom: One Drop Makes The Whole World Kin. In reading it, I find my perfect aloneness is ruptured, splintered, and an even deeper connection, a deeper love wells within. This is the function of poetry, this rupturing. I will share with you the first line, no, merely the first clause, first few words. It’s all I needed honestly, and it’s not complicated or new or wildly original – it’s just what I needed to read at that particular moment in time:

All the world is one

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