Last night I lay bolt awake. I thought I should write to you. I wanted to share this poem with you, and to let you know that I’m sorry. I’ve been distant, neglectful. I’ve completely abandoned you, or at least you must feel that way. Please know that I think of you often, that the guilt of not writing to you is agony, and that I write to you in my head while I walk the leafy paths and swim in the waters of my mother’s womb. The pelicans fly overhead and I suffer their beauty. The summer is an open wound, a corporeal dream, a nightmare of pending loss.
The poem, just for you:
Against The American Grain
from Harpers who got it from Irish Pages
Stronger and stronger, the sunlight glues
The afternoon to its objects,
the baby pine tree,
The scapular shadow thrown over the pond and meadow grass,
The absence the two
horses have left on the bare slope,
The silence that grazes like two shapes where they have been.
The slow vocabulary of sleep
spits out its consonants
And drifts in its vowely weather,
Sun-pocked, the afternoon dying among its odors,
The cocaine smell of the wind,
The too-sweet and soft-armed
fragrance around the reluctant lilac bush.
Flecked in the underlap, however,
Something unordinary persists,
Something unstill, never-sleeping, just possible past reason.
Then unflecked by evening’s outflow
and its counter current.
What mystery can match its maliciousness, what moan?
posted by Lisa on 8:12 AM link |
You’ve always imagined a box full of ideas. It would sit on your desk and hold all of your random ideas, great things you’d read, references you knew you’d need someday, just who knows when. It would all be there: that thing Helen Keller said and that half-idea floating between solid thoughts about ‘To The Lighthouse’, just what was it about that book that had you? Your box would be wooden, carved and beautiful, but simple too. It would feel good to the touch, and when you reached inside, magic would happen. You’d find just the thing you needed. You never made the box though. You faltered in the execution. Then computers came along and somehow they ended up holding everything the box could have held.
But you miss the slips of paper you could have touched, miss reaching into the box and pulling out that quote you needed but couldn’t have guessed you’d need, not until you saw it in your hand, read it, said, Oh, now I get where this fits in and how it connects to this other idea over here. Yes, yes, things are organized, and ideas, poems, sayings, and favorite word lists are all lit from behind, but equally illuminated. You can’t accidentally open a computer file. You miss the chance and the serendipity, like reaching for a rune. You miss so much that will never be. You think maybe you’ll make that box after all.
posted by Lisa on 6:52 AM link |
Is beauty necessary? Yes. Is it enough? No.
By itself, no, it isn’t enough. But it can fill in when other things are missing, or in short supply. The other night I drove back from seeing a movie ‘over the hill’. The ridge was holding back the fog and it was dusk. The whole spread out world was lighting up in that warm glow of sunset, and the fog was being lit from behind. There was a leftover plane trail that held the last bright white light of the sun. The beauty cut me and it felt just like being in love. It filled me up and it was everything I wanted and it was death because I couldn’t keep it and I knew that.
I had watched ‘Collateral’ which is about death and beauty and desire. It’s a love poem to Los Angeles and to night and to the human spirit, which is remarkable for a movie about a hit man and filled with killing.
My friend Terry told me yesterday that beauty can be found everywhere, and that loving a child is loving beauty, that love is beauty. If Michael Mann can find beauty from a cab window driving around Los Angeles, then there is beauty everywhere. I think it’s just where you look with love.
I used to live in Mexico—on the beach. I thought it was the most beautiful place in the world. I sent some people to look at the property while I was away and the house was locked up, just so they could see where I lived. They reported back that they thought it was desolate. But I think that if I’d been there when they arrived—they’d have seen it through my eyes, seen it loved by me—and they might have seen beauty.
posted by Lisa on 7:50 AM link |
E is for Ethereal
I am a cloud in the sky, casting a reflection
by chance, in the heart of your wave. Don’t be too amazed,
or too thrilled,
in an instant I’ll be gone without a trace.
The clouds here this morning are moving fast and high. Their form changes so quickly that they are never one thing long enough to have a name. Although inside one I saw the outline of a heart in the sky.
Earlier, canada geese flew the other way, honking loudly, drowning out the ticking of this clock.
posted by Lisa on 7:29 AM link |
D is for Dog Dreams
My dog has had another vestibular incident, a sudden onset of inner ear imbalance. Her brain must make new pathways now. Until then, she walks in circles and stumbles often and her head tilts to one side as she tries to compensate for the spinning world.
We were on vacation together when it happened, and I spent much of the week sitting with her head in my lap, or curled up on her dog bed, or running interference between my 11-month-old niece and the dog. My dog accepts the changes in the newly spinning world with complete equanimity. She's still happy to be called for a walk, even if I have to hold her back legs up in a sling. Earlier in the week, she ate her meals from my hand. She still looks at me with the trust of a puppy.
I wish there were something I could do to help her. I hope that she recovers her equilibrium. Of course, I'll continue to love her whatever happens. Meanwhile, she sleeps and in her dreams runs like the wind: chasing rabbits, bounding over hillsides, splashing through streams. She races me to the top of the mountain, stopping often to look back and make sure I'm behind her.
posted by Lisa on 6:51 AM link |
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