Saturday, April 5, 2008

My Grimy Largesse

Unsettled, though saying so feels redundant. Woke up a few minutes after midnight from a dream of being in - Boston I think? the hazy outskirts of some familiar city anyway - and with old friends, from high school maybe (clearly triggered by J.'s phone call earlier this week), and everyone looked - though I couldn't see myself - as we did some twenty or so years ago. I was happy there, milling about - beneath a tent of some kind, an outdoor party preface to some other event, though what I can't recall - the bonhomie, et cetera, but it was quickly obvious that either nobody knew I was there (a ghost) or did know and didn't give a shit (unwanted guest). At the dream's end I was scouring the dirt for quarters, any coinage at all, and wondering where the car was so I could hoard my grimy largesse.

Couldn't fall back to sleep so came to the green couch and read - or skimmed, though parts of it were excellent - the Hejinian-edited 2004 Best of (or was it 2003) - it's still on the couch where Song is, feeling the easy familiarity with language I always feel while reading poems, that sense of yes I do this too, yet also the inevitable biography envy that accompanies the Best of's, which is maybe part of why I stopped reading them (also because the whole idea of "best" seemed closer to nonsense than not) and also because, at least to my reading sensibilities, they're usually kind of boring, their moments of not-boring way too brief. During this particular read my legs ached tucked underneath me, then propped barely on a crowded little desk, and my stomach was awash with bile following an evening of terrible food (or rather good food, good enough food, but in wrong combinations/amounts): crab cakes with some kind of pink cajun sauce, nachos, day old bread with cheddar cheese, thai noodles with salty mushroom broth, chunks of unripe watermelon, et cetera.

And now installing Turbo Tax (was supposed to have done this last night, "before midnight," said C, but I fell asleep putting Jeremiah to bed (with Allen's New American Poetry propped on my chest)), and while updates slowly download am reading - not skimming, I never skim her - Hejinian again, this time from The Language of Inquiry, which I think Bhanu recommended. Lovely enticing prose but it does deepen my confusion about that project - that story - how to write it, what form it should take (though raising those questions, casting light on them, seems beneficial), though I do say - said several times to C yesterday during the usual crazy bedtime procedures, diapers, tantrums, book selections, et cetera - that I felt some breakthrough, some movement, tiny but perceptible, finally, in how to approach this work. The sense, pervasive since my last visit to Plainfield, that once I figure out the form/the how, then it's just going to flow. Well, I do work fast.

I wrote several poems as well, as always more comfortable there (than fiction), but why. Who cares why. Still haven't heard back from D.L., and continue to postpone looking for signatures as I imagine everyone I ask will fix me with a cheerfully mean look and then refuse, basso profundo so everyone within five square miles will hear, as if everyone in this town is just dying for the opportunity to personally and painfully reject me, a grandiosity that is discouraging to actually see written down.

The point is - or was when this started, the reason it was started when it was - that whatever discontent mills about, while it milled, a rain started outside, a low thrumming that gained in intensity, and puddles formed and I could hear runoff from the broken gutters splashing into them. And against all that cold water falling I felt a distinct mammalian pleasure of being warm and dry, in this cave, and also gratitude for that pleasure. A moment of security, of being wrapped in, and also aware, intensely so.

Yet - say it - maybe it wasn't so much pleasure and gratitude as it was an imaging of myself having those feelings. I wasn't here but projected into some there - a hut, a scabby loft, with some books, writing utensils, and the rain conveyed that sense of being safe and cozy but also hinted at some kind of holiness, holier-than-thou.

While here - the real here, meaning this house, these books, this writing, these responsibilities - I reject (or only half-heartedly accept), drift away from, refuse contentedness (refuse content?), stubbornly avoid it, whatever.

And this, this is the twentieth sentence.

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