Sunday 6 August 2006
Disillusioned yet? Really, I mean, how can you take such a thing seriously? A search for the human spirit!?
How can you do otherwise? Take a thing lightly? Little girl, I say to you, arise.
It is Sunday again. My game of castle cards goes on. 52 isn't so many and Green Lake is so dreadfully draught-free, I'm sure to succeed in building some sort of a dream. In making things mean. O, but I haven't even a twosome together!
Here, on my desk, beside my papers and pen, sits a peach. Every once in a while, I smell the crown of my peach. Of the things before me, of the figments within reach, there is always this peach.
In the four miles from my home to the lake, I pass all the now sacred places on the Aurora Reach. Chutes and Ladders, the section of hillside with crooked legs and tamped out rings. The Gills, breathing high up on the hill. Creeping Water, the 100' section of ever-wet walkway where you must hold up your cuffs. Crushed, the buckled foundation of an abandoned house, fraught with saplings and weeds. And Pinball Machine, at the ball joint of the bridge, where the speeding cars merge and emerge. And most important, The Middle Place, the one foot, 1500 feet into, the Aurora Bridge. The Middle Place. A brief but clean break in the line that runs from purpose to source.
Off I go now, to sit on my shelf. My shelf at the edge of the lake. When you get there, the cupboard won't be bare. Already the hounds will be chasing the hare.
I've settled in. I've picked the plastic and paper bits out of my meadow, trash blown out of the traffic wind, and now I'm wandering about collecting feathers. Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy... Pinning boutonnières onto my tulip tree. White feather, brown, red feather, down... Telling my fortune.
And they file by in their rhyming shoes. If you lose your motor or fall off track, the Stuckman Truck will take you back. Life mustn't change. Dreams mustn't grow. Stay where you are or we'll drive you back.
Sign of Moose sickness. Walking in circles.
Not just today, but over time in subtle growing ways, I sense their discontent. The kind of ache that changes things. They are at a jumping-point. Their coils are tense. "My life must change." Why do they hesitate?
And how do I know their wants? Their needs? How do I know Suzie and Joe? Rumors and slants are all I know. But I know what I know. Suzie and Joe. Bees in the threes and Chinese whispers. These are the Suzies and Joes I know.
Writer is here. What does he want? He is photographing me. Trying to capture the poet. But the poet is aloof, scampering about, avoiding his net. Writer, in stripes, makes a gangly path. A sort of warden in a dog catcher's cap, raising his horizon-wide hoop.
I am tired. Much! Standing in the sun. Not enough reflection. Two peaches. Not enough.
Now my charms are all o'erthrown,
And what strength I have's mine own,…
As you from crimes would pardon'd be,
Let your indulgence set me free.
Yesterday I read a NY Times article (Sunday July 16, 2006) about a 1930's diary rescued from a curbside garbage bin. It had, after decades in storage and a night on the curb, been returned to its author, Florence Wolfson, now 93. This worn, red diary is shown alongside a few pages of cursive history. Words from a privileged youth on Riverside Drive. But spoken with lust! With destiny and hunger.
"What she seemed to crave most were grand passions that would envelop her and transform her life." The author, seated now with a photo of herself, taken decades earlier, in her lap, "Where did all that creativity go? If I was true to myself, would I have ended up in Westport?"
What shall we call this condition? This inability to sustain the transformation process? This failure to converse with the self? The Failure of Florence? The Failure of Fate? Perhaps we can call it "antiform." Anti: One that is opposed + Form: To shape, form. Florence shall illustrate her own condition. This picture will do. Florence in a wicker throne on the sundeck of her Westport home. The dictionary meaning shall read: n. (1) Figure frozen in emotional time, (2) The muting of the heart (3) Defeat of the human spirit via luxury
To achieve the state of antiform, you must first untie the hero from your wrist. Then, let go. Let go of your dream. There it goes, rising on the evening breeze. Now, sate your hunger. There are so many ways. Need I tell you? And really, it's time, once and for all, to drop the question, "How do I know I'm alive?" Take instead a lateral tool, a social sport, such as tennis or golf. And, last but not least, you must purchase a fence taller than yourself with a lockable gate and spend your remaining years filling it with any thing.
Dear Green Lake,
If your 14-year old diary were brought to you now, would you be the person you imagine you'd be? Have you wasted your dawns? What were your dreams?
Dear Green Lake,
If you stay in the game, if you play long enough, you will suffer all of life's handicaps. First a hand will be taken. Then a knee. Then two. Next your eyes, one by one, go out. Then, you're done. Out. It's time for the winding-sheet.
Or quickly. Green Lake as a hangman's noose. Dreaming, dreaming… then snap –Awake!
Already it is 17:01. Too soon! In this one minute, 2 babies, 10 walkers, 2 rollerbladers, 2 runners and 3 bikers pass. 19 bodies pass by my willow tree.