This is a collection of poems that was first compiled in March of 1984. I have added some selected poems that were written after that date in the last section - "The Latter Days - Final Poems." They are final because the rich vein of insanity that inspired these poems was running dry. This "insanity" was a period primarily between June of 1982 and mid 1984, that I like to call "the dark night of the soul." It is dark because of ones descent into the unconscious - a completely unfamiliar landscape of feelings, symbols, and energies that at times is too much to handle.
I hope this collection can serve to document and give insight into a person undergoing intense metaphysical anguish and desperate internal searching. Poetry was an attempt to express the bizarre new associations, the mystical thought, and the grammatical novelties that characterized this transformation. It was sort of like a data dump of unnecessary files, a rite of passage to burn the dross of the old identity and forge the new, along ones own chosen lines. Words became charged with feeling. Tearing apart the syllables, the tones, to the prehistoric roots of language, and beyond- to the "feeling-tone" of the guttural consonants and airy vowels. Rebuilding thought, words flowing out according to archaic double meanings and unconscious associations. Sometimes a staccato snare drum of T's and K's, or an angry spitting of sharp monosyllables conveyed the feeling well.
Happily, by applying free reign in the poetic field, and expressing the often repressed confusion regarding life's fundamental questions, a healthy stability was eventually reached.
The era of poetry was launched in June of 1982, with a complete departure from my past. This was, temporarily, a liberating experience, resulting in the first doom-poems and God- poems. This, I recognize, was the dissolution of my former self and the birth of a new self that placed God at the center.
Thereafter I was often attacked by bouts of wordiness, and developed a strange delight in spewing stream of consciousness, anarchic and novel word associations - a rhyme and rhythm of sounds, feelings, and images completely new. Apart from being nonsense, I am adamant that even the most bizarre word chains were the expression of a deeper, psychic reality, like dream logic, which was on the edge of awareness. Often when expressed through "strange poetry," many unconscious associations which were screaming to be integrated and worked out during the dark night of the soul, became available for contemplation. One had the feeling of dredging up gold from the bottom of a lake, or fishing for diamonds. Words can act as triggers to the archetypal realm. The symbolic, archetypal associations of words are often personal, applying to ones present psychic state, and are therefore fleeting. In other words, words and thought are like the surface froth of an ocean of feeling, and their gentle ripples only dimly reflect the great churning of the deep.
Without delving into a theory of poetry, suffice it to say that this poetry is inspired. these writings are precious to me because they are like the sparks shot off from a spirit undergoing the crucible of transformation. I can remember a few of the first poems, as the dimension to feeling and religious experience began to open - Gentle Rains of Pre-Dawn, Reincarceration, and W W, about a coffee shop in Bloomington, Illinois, and the compassion felt for my peers, who seemed enmeshed in worldly illusion. I have other favorites - Sun as Son, Racial Death Defying, Fertilizer, Distance Gazing, and Dull, Denying, Anger Flying (Not to but From). Also included in this collection are some surviving doodles and drawings from that time. Toward the end of 1985, I discovered a new vehicle of of expression, music, and began writing guitar songs. Melody and the combination of rhyme and rhythm, concept and feeling, were natural extensions from simple poetry. I hope these songs will be collected and the evolution of thought can be followed.
And so, this is really a recollection (re-collection) of poems long ago tossed into the dungeons of the mind. Just for the record.
John Major Scott Jenkins
August 23rd, 1990
post-note: Many poems and songs were written after Metaphysical Speculations was collected and bound in 1990. In fact, I included blank pages at the end of the collection and added poems, songs, and drawings through the years. The most recent poem in the book is "Talked with Pekka," written when I completed the first draft editing the translation of Ervast's Key to the Kalevala in April 1996. - JMJ, 4-99.