The Story Behind “Two Poems” by Jed Myers

JMyers_HeadshotToday’s post is written by Jed Myers. You can read his two poems “That Beaten Eye” and “Let’s Go In” in our Spring 2014 issue.

“That Beaten Eye” and “Let’s Go In,” while manifestly quite different in theme and subject, are both among my many meditations on, or explorations of, the uncanny inseparability of beauty and violence, life and death, peace and war…. In the actuality of experience, we don’t find these apparent opposites in either/or relation, but intertwined. There is a kind of confluence, a zone of optimal aliveness, where vitality and mortality weave together in the current of what arises, and this is where I hope to travel with my reader/listener in poems.

These two particular poems each came about as I found myself in that frothy mix—in one case on a great Alaskan river teeming with salmon swimming toward their deaths and renewal, and in the other case as I felt the incessancy of our country’s distant warfare in the local spring weather.

In other explorations, I might hope to enter the reality of loneliness in the crowd, or of intimacy at a distance, wisdom in youth, innocence in age, poverty in opulence. Fear lives in places of comfort, and deep soothing can happen in utter hardship.

I’m taken with how nothing can be felt as real unless, in the light, we can witness the shadow as well. How can we grasp one another fully unless we can sense the wound or threat that underlies anger? The vulnerability behind all aggression is there to discover, so that we might know the other as like ourselves.

This matter of nothing being one way and not the other—of, say, fierceness and love being inseparable—is the stir out of which many poems, stories, and paintings are born. It is what makes any thing, natural or made, real, believable.

About the Author

Jed Myers is a Philadelphian living in Seattle. Two of his poetry collections, The Nameless (Finishing Line Press) and Watching the Perseids (winner of the 2013 Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), are to be released in 2014. He won the 2012 Mary C. Mohr Editors’ Award offered by Southern Indiana Review, and received the 2013 Literal Latte Poetry Award. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Nimrod International Journal, Crab Orchard ReviewAtlanta Review, Sanskrit, The Tusculum Review, and elsewhere.

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