For the creative person the journey is anything but linear. Fraught with chaos, steeped in the inconclusive praise of what kills as it nurtures, every poet finds himself at last at the end of a poem of which he had no idea how it would end when he wrote the first line. And thus he lives, without assurance but with faith in his ecstasy.

Even hell is a kind of ecstasy. One must be conscious to be in hell. The kernel of consciousness is ecstasy. Simply to be conscious, even if you are suffering your worst torment, not just holds the potential for ecstasy, but is, stripped of thought, an ecstatic experience.

Thus, in a sense, we are all mystics; we are all ecstatics. Being, however horrible, is ecstatic. This is not to render the term meaningless any more than it is to demean the horror of suffering. On the contrary, it is to raise consciousness to its true stature.

Not to mention that one man’s torture is another’s bliss and vice versa. But both have pleasantly or unpleasantly suffered the ecstasy of consciousness, always a two-edged sword. Always carving poetry and the poetic to bits, just as words carve our lives and death carves our insight.

I am a wounded man, for simply to be is to suffer. Not consistently, but not in general either because suffering is nothing if not specific. But at the heights or depths of consciousness, whether I experience unspeakable suffering or unspeakable joy, I am ecstatic. Simply to be is to be ecstatic at some level of awareness, whether or not you consider yourself a mystic.

As in a dream one is everything, so I am all voices represented in my poems. Even when the poet is not speaking of himself, his poem is autobiographical. It is impossible for it not to be. That is the nature of poetic speech; it always devolves upon the speaker to the extent of revealing something about him. For the poet as for the dreamer, it is impossible to be anything but autobiographical.

Yet the poet is stubborn, ever reaching for the objective. This, in fact, is his primary motivation. To make of himself, his visions, perceptions, memories, conclusions, something real, tangible, visible—more so than the dream, the imagining, he feels deep down is all he really is. His poetry, if it is any good, will sum up or reveal something of his journey from hell to ecstasy: the mysticism or mystery of his consciousness. The antipodes of his suffering and joy told as if everyone had experienced the same, or at least knows what the poet is talking about.