Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Answer #57 - Onion Grass in my Socks

In September I'll have dinner with Wendell Berry.  We may not speak much more than passing introductions, while a table full of the faithful hang on his every utterance between fork fulls of squash and whatever the good Kansas harvest brings.  But I'm an open book, and whoever he turns out to be - for better or worse and away from the wonderful writer that he is - I won't be able to much hide my reaction to it.  My face betrays me all the time.

In grocery stores, perfect strangers have been known to say, "Are you allright?" - and not just in the Midwest, but in the heart of Hollywood once.

I was floored that Hollywood day, and kept looking at myself in the reflection of the freezer case, trying to see what they saw.

I just saw me.  Thinking.  Too much.

These days, I tell myself that to think too much - to distraction - is a waste of time.  I tell myself that I can't be inundated by every piece of tragic news broadcast across the surface of the good Earth and expect to continue to walk upright, despite what arguments facebook friends may or may not make of my responsibility to dedicate all my waking hours to the absorption of the needs of the many.

So, in the still winter-dark light of March, and nearing the end of  
The Importance of Being Iceland,
   I'm having breakfast with Eileen Myles, the poet author of the book.  And though some of her friends are a little pretentious and self-important for me on a Wednesday morning, I still like her.  Not so in love, but that's okay - that's the way of it and better than some long, unrequited infatuation anyway.  And if she quietly clings to the art world like a barnacle to a freighter in the perfect Atlantic storm, I have to wonder,

What do I cling to?  What do we all cling to? To keep us from flying off the Big Blue Ball?

Me, today anyway, I cling to the thought that not too long from now, I'll be on the lawn tractor with onion grass in my socks and sweat on my neck.

Back to
the animus
the city's
smiling face
a hail of birds
     fly out
something simple
  to keep the baby amused
we tied it
to her wrist
and it
    flew away.

Still, Gong, the city clock rang on,
the minutes the seconds all
    had their say

Once in a while
    you look real
    close, a
    fingernail an MCMXLIV
    you know it's borrowed time
but it's

    time, wild
    & wooly to forge our
faith &

family by,
       to buy
a tractor to be serene.    
         -  Eileen Myles    

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