what is poetic license anyway

Poetic license is a self-proclaimed right to break or bend the rules in order to create something meaningful.  Or, as defined by The Free Dictionary: license or liberty, esp. as taken by a poet or other writer, in deviating from conventional form, logic, fact, etc., to produce a desired effect.

I want to bend this definition to encompass a perspective on movement and writing, on the body and language that does not separate (these) into two distinct entities forever estranged but rather lives them as two aptitudes out of a larger range of aptitudes known as the body’s potentialities.

In all of its senses poetic license implies a transgressive gesture, enabling a space of writing that both produces and then sails out of the self-same transgressive breach, cutting a swath of transversal, bypassing clear-cut and lucid as over-defined identities.

Is this just a cute exercise, a brain teaser, tongue-twisting dilemma flouting resolution? No this is bodywork: the application of theories about dance to real world bodies and identities, with an eye towards gleaning takes on embodiment with a different slant, a slanted view of the world.

What emerges is not so much a direction but rather a tendency, a tending to-wards, out-wards that is also in-wards, that seeks out-with, but with-out seeking to undo or revolt. The tending  (tending in the sense of both an inclination and its caretaking) is renegade in the sense that it dares not know its name, it dares to seek not knowing, unidentified, sliding off the grid, to divest itself of itself, to become self-disowned.

An orphan, a bastard child, a foundling.

Poetic license is flushed out of hiding in the stepping across of boundaries, borders, lines, definitions, delimitations, laws, codes, practices, but stepping softly, with eyes vigilant, the attention attuned to the subtle rising and falling of body humours and their knowings, however these might present themselves. Poetic license is ever on the alert in its tending for unexpected sensations, intuitions, a drop in the stomach, a trembling in the chest, muscles spasms or cognitive shudders, nausea or delirious fast for-ward. Or unwinding like molasses slower than slowness, another understanding of slow of the sleek soft sensual premonitions that are otherwise bypassed.

Otherwise usually lost in translation from here to there. Otherwise usually defined as non-sense. Translation becomes thereby one path of poetic license, of the getting there, in its daring to run the risk of being lost in the in-between states, or in-between cultures, or in-between languages, and all of the pre-pre-prescribed determinations therein of being and knowing. Letting fly. Being lost, sliding into darkness, crossing over the final line of distinction that proves not to be so in any sense.  Jamming the senses, controversing them, stirring things up, stuttering, stammering, shuddering to explode, shake, heighten sensation.

Poetic license then drips, drops, detonates or defers. Steps aside, as if to let the words pass and then sticks out one toe and trips them so they fall down hard. So they stumble and tumble and roll and keep rolling until they lay there stunned-staring up at the ceiling, chewing on the cud of the thing, the base sensation of having arrived somewhere unfamiliar, and where all the same the sky spins, the sky revolts and shines back the reflection of things in reverse, affording oppositions, displaying them blatantly. Like a kind of joke. Like a kind of trap.

And so. Poetic license lets all of this be, seeing the yes-no, up-down, body-knowledge, right-wrong, good-evil, man-woman, inside-outside, same-different polemic and letting it be what it is. But no more. Awareness of it, out of the corner of the eye, (there’s no need to uphold it, it will do just fine without your help) it hovers suspended and universally all powerful or so it claims.

As if it were a mirage and nothing more. Something quaint in its presumptuous, all-powerful take on the here and now, something archaic in its unapologetic demands for complete submission.  The real world. As somebody once said, though it’s hard to remember quite just who and why their words had such staying power, as if they were a prayer.

But it’s important to keep in mind that it’s also a matter of the body’s potentialities, and as such, by definition open and for the time being infinite in its manifestations and the written expressions of the same.


Nexr up: Hand-writing.


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