Monday, April 28, 2014

Letting the Song Sing Us

I wake up thinking about Mount Ascutney. The time Jake and I went to its peak the long way, coming down in a soft rain, and not once seeing another person. I am in love always, and bound hard to memory's sturdy drum, but I am also willing to look at what does not work and let it go. Bells ring, forever internal. While later, out walking after the sun has risen, we spook a few turkeys near the feeder pond and they walk slowly away from us, up into the spindly pine trees, for some reason unalarmed, and it makes me happy in a way that beer cans and lug nuts don't. Violets all of a sudden, and an obsession with puddles in which the sky is reflected, somehow more real than anything else I know. Gravel hissing under our bike tires, our voices carrying on muddy back roads, talking about the characters in your favorite stories. How strange after so many years to be such a happy father, full of wordiness and activity. Days pass. I sleep on the couch for no reason other than to remember how much it hurts and also to remember those days in bus stations and park benches, when it really hurt and there was no end in sight and I was stupid enough to think it was something other than the booze. The first time I heard a harpsichord! Stumbling out around midnight to pee and studying the sky for hints of rain. Why can't I remember her name now, the woman from Ireland who saw me through that difficult time, those weeks before I finally made it to Dublin and Bloomsday and drinking beer with Misha on rooftops while fiddlers worked the cobblestone four stories beneath us, the two of us trying to figure out what the Russians knew about fiction that we didn't. Books piled so high on the dresser I can't see myself in the mirror, though when I reach for Wittgenstein they all topple and there I am, looking tired as usual, but also amused. I said to her - this was years ago - I seem to need women, that's all, and she said in reply, yes but why do you need them, that's the real question. We played backgammon a lot, smoking and not talking, in a cafe whose name also escapes me. We dyed Easter eggs with tea and cranberries, we dreamed about parakeets, and we offered hungry kisses in an empty classroom, breathy and hot and scared. Something floats in around 3 a.m. and says "follow me" and I do and it's okay, for a little while longer it's okay. You look tired too! We pretend it's about this when it's really about that, and we pretend why we do it matters, when all that really matters is unhinging this love of which we are composed, and letting the song sing us, any old way it wants.

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