In a park two strangers sit on a bench in the dry heat of the afternoon. Beads of sweat gather on the their foreheads and upper lips and they stare off into the distance when one man says to the other some bit about his life, some small nugget of truth like, “I miss my daughter,” or “It’s hot,” or some other kind of cliched phrase one stranger might say to another.
To which the other replies, “Word.”
And here we’ve come into some kind of agreement, a pact, if you will, of two men saying truth has just spoken and we align ourselves with this truth. Hence the phrase, “Word,” which moves in and out of fashion (probably out by now), but which stays with me because of it’s irony, that “word” in its literalness is also truth, “Word-up,” or “For sure,” which is just music. We’re singing to each other now. We can say any number of variations which is all lyrical and musical and essentially poetry speak that’s created a reality between two people. Something that did not exist is now fully alive, yet, invisible.
Or we can answer silently, by nodding our head or in our hearts confirming, thus we are always creating new realities in twos and more, that interaction is based upon acceptance and rejection, deflection and disagreement.
We speak poetry to each other every day. In the mundane and unmemorable moments we’re singing poetic connection.
“The relationship between the poet, the poem, and the reader not as a static entity but as a dynamic unfolding. An emerging sacramental event. A relation between an I and a You. A relational process,” (Edward Hirsch). Like how reading Scripture places us within this process with our Creator. Or hearing the stories about a spouse’s day connects one to his/her feelings and emotions.
Roy Peter Clark expands on the idea of twos in connection:
The secret knowledge I seek, I now believe, is embodied by and embedded in the number two. Just as two defines the information coding of computer science and genetics, two has become in my mind the essential number to create meaning in all texts, most visibly in short texts: Jesus wept. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee…
We may have the analytical skills to slice a long work into several parts. But when we seek the sources of energy, again and again it seems to resolve itself to two.
Here is the idea of noun and verb colliding and connecting the way a reader connects and collides with stories and poems.
Creatives are catalysts for violence.