Sunday 12 March 2007
Is this spring? This wind, this mist, this ahh? The ducks have blown ashore. How much crueler, March! How much closer to balm. Early colors are plating the branches, tea-green in the willow, gold in the birches. Love and grief. Here comes, here comes spring.
THE SAME AS GOLD
Giovanni has come at long last, the self-proclaimed Mayor of Green Lake. What does the Mayor of Green Lake do? And what about Green Lake is weighing him down? Giovanni smiles, nothing more, a bit of Cheshire cat. Perhaps that is enough?
I offered him a poem. He read “Despite the Hunger” by Alice Walker followed by “An Iraqi Evening” by Yusuf al-Sa'igh. I had read both to myself, just half an hour ago, on my walk in. The poems that stop time are few and far between. "Even if we leap / Into loving," "Consider: the pilot / & the / Hijacker / Might / Have been / Holding / Hands," "Now that I /Understand / That grief / Emotionally speaking / Is the same / As gold / I do not despair," "a peaceable home / two boys / preparing their homework / a little girl / absentmindedly drawing on scrap paper / funny pictures."
I am poor in sleep. I have overworked myself, given myself away too much. Is this why I feel pain, pity? I cannot fix theirs. I have no power to change. The same mistakes over and over. Alice Walker knows. I plow on, hand-in-hand with my countryfolk, perpetrating the very things I’ve grown to hate. And what do I hate? My lack of time, my lack of space, my lack of focus. I suppose it's myself that I hate.
Oliver mentions a study, “Tearoom Trade: Impersonal Sex in Public Places,” on the characteristics of men who participate in sexual practices in public places. Using albeit contested and unethical methods, a sample group of men were followed, identified and researched for this study. They were found, in the end, to be a sampling of normal adults, unrecognizable from the other males in their area. What does this say about conformity and counter-culture? What does this say about who is supporting such behavior? Who is speaking out against it? Where is such behavior discussed?
What makes a person whole? What must we bear? Where does hatred go? What part of rejecting begins in the self? We must learn to still ourselves, to forgive and love ourselves. We must practice compassion.
I look around for that person and it is not me. I storm off. Then I'm everywhere, storming around. It's easier to destroy this externally than it is to destroy it in me. But the only solution, I know, is to abide, to change from within. This is life's most persistent and difficult lesson.
SAVE NAZIM HIKET
From my desk I have heard, just now, for the first time, a ship’s horn. A ship's horn! The long and the short blast of some ship to some bridge tender. The wind is strong. It carries the message up from the University, up from Montlake Cut over Tangletown, over the lake, to me. It is belly deep, a tuba, a horn on the Bosphorus where freighters plunge and disappear. Where Nazim Hikmet circles like a wasp in a cold breeze. Steel horses in a field of steel.
Asia and Europe were first bridged in 1973. A bridge was constructed over the Bosphorus Straits. It was opened by the Turkish President and Prime Minister and then crossed by an American civil engineer and an American comedian dressed as a clown and a pack of Turkish children. "As a huge crowd of people started to run after them, the bridge began to vibrate, and the crowd had to be held back to avoid any damage" [Wikipedia]. A vibrating bridge between the east and the west. This is how I see it now. This is my ship's horn now. Steel ships, Nazim in his open motor boat and all those children held back.
There now, the light has changed. It is only Green Lake being ruffled by white caps. I created so much heat getting here today. Two jackets wrapped around my waist, sweater sleeves rolled up. Sitting now, in the lake-fed wind at my desk, I am shivering. A spray of rain has got my clothes damp. Water is dripping from the peak of my hood, smearing my ink.
Ceci n'est pas une exécution. This is not a performance. Though you might recognize it as such, recognize that formula, that image, I no longer see it as such. I recognize this as my work. I am putting myself out here on display so you might see me, so you might experience this, participate in poetry in some way. This pacing, this memorizing, this orating, writing, observing, this what I do, this what I’ve done, this what I'm going to do. It's all right here for you.
It's 12:45. The bells are sending their second, their long ring, their gospel news, across Aurora. They rarely do this any more. They rarely go longer than a minute any more. Now their notes rise up around me, make my body float, distant, as if I were in a tub of voices. They bless the ducks in the meadow. They direct the Circlers.
ALL HAIL THE ROCK!
Kate stops on her way to Thanksgiving dinner at Andy's, a backpack full of food and kitchenware, a thermos dangling from the side strap. She is going to bake pies. She is going to keep their mid-winter tradition, to host a holiday dinner for friends from their college days.
There's a red bottle cap under my Eastern White Pine. It has been there for many months. I see it again today. I like the way it looks down there, white lettering in a streamlined, minimalist, font: "Session." It's from a Session lager, a beer put out by Full Sail. I've seen it before and left it alone. Today something moved me to pick it up. Inside the cap, there is a word and a line drawing: "Rock." I show Kate. "All hail the rock," she says. As in Plymouth Rock. As in Thanksgiving. As in a small red presence under my pine tree.