Saturday, January 18, 2003

sarasota, your cold fronts can not chill our hearts

I know the secret. One of them. I thought it curious that while I was home in Virginia over break, I managed to get up around nine every day on my own accord, and yet since my return to Sarasota, I find it difficult to wake up when my alarm goes off at 11!

This morning, in Sarasota, I woke up a few minutes before nine.

And the secret, the reason that would seem logical given the evidence is that last night even though I was up until around three reading in the bathtub, doing face masks, and enjoying the solitude of an empty house, is that last night I had nothing to drink. I am going to start limiting my alcohol intake because it does dull me, my senses, and because I do like waking up early, I like being alive. No more drinking on weeknights, period. And try not to drink on weekends either. Think of all the things you could do in the morning. Even if it is just wandering an empty house, opening doors, examining piles of papers, the physical world and shrines we have created in this archealogical wonder, looking at how they lived, taking in the sounds of CCR, making food with a slowness that does not display the slightest bit of hunger, but making food for the doingness that the activity priveleges. And yeah this was all time normally spent under the covers, dreaming whatever dreams a twenty one year old boy will dream in this American land.

And last night, it was West Potomac High School in Alexandria, the bricks, the delirious chill of a fall or winter or early spring day. The dream was not that specific. School was out and I went to where I had parked my car to leave, to go home, and it was not there. The car, my car, was missing, obviously so. There was an explicit physical absence where my car should have been, an empty parking space surrounded by filled ones. I waited a bit, I don't remember doing what - and soon the parking lot was empty, all the spaces were empty. Kids sped home and I was so confused about my missing car. I went into Springbank, the drama building to use the phone, and as I was walking up to it, I saw Jesse Robinson and Brendan Bradley, painting the front door for some reason. I started talking them, telling them the story - and I don't remember all too clearly what happened from that point. I don't know if there was much more to the dream because Jesse and Brendan are two boys that I had unrealized crushes on back in high school, back when I did not believe I was gay, and just thought these two boys were "so cool." But yeah, at some point soon after encountering them painting the door, I half woke up with one of those comfortable boners that you get in the middle of the night sometimes, where your body is so sleepy and comfortable and everything is natural and the world just seems fucking perfect because you are at the whim of all these earthly forces, not doing a thing besides sleeping and yet feeling a contentment that borders of heavenly as your press your cock into your sheets and you try to fall back asleep thinking of Jesse and Brendan. I don't even know if I would consider this masturbation because you are still half asleep, too tired to actually stroke your cock. You just want it to be erect and to press it into the sheets like a yawn and fall into comfortable sleep.

I went to Barnes and Nobles the other day and yanked a bunch of books that looked lovely. One of them was Sharon Olds' new collection,The Unswept Room, and boy oh boy, it is indeed a lovely book. New poetry can be good, can be fucking excellent! My respect for contemporary poetry is pretty much nonexistant. I have heard too many students read either self-absorbed or self-righteous poetry, crappy poetry that doesn't jive with me, jive with fucking anything. I have read too many poets who break up already bad prose with line breaks and think that that is poetry, that it is art and meaningful. But then in the year 2003, I can open up a book with a copyright of 2002 and be absolutely floored by the first poem.

the back of my mind, for an instant, I wonder
if this is the little family my relative
killed, when he was drunk, with his car, but I know
that the dead, at the moment of death, do not go
somewhere else, as if on vacation,
showing up in bathing suits,
unwounded--no, the work was deeply
done, thorough. ...


...If you know someone
who was there, that hour, at the burial,
could you tell them--I don't know what you could tell them.
Across the pond, the day's neighbors
open the earthen doors of the hamper.
Salt for the eggs, a cup of milk.
If they should lack for something! If they would ask me!
Unless they have already asked me, and I did not know them.

Sharon Olds amazes me, she does what poetry is supposed to do. She inspires me, the reader, to take a better look at some things, points out the beauty and the sadness in things normal. Makes the ordinary extraordinary. I can read a couple poems and then bike to work in blistery cold weather. The fucking forties in the Sunshine State. And I bike with an awareness of life, am so happy with it all, to be a part of it.

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