Friday, November 13, 2015

Oaky Notes

You know what shots sound like. The acorns
Hitting the roof don't sound like shots at all.
So why do they make you jump? This time of year
Tells a story: Find a safe place. You, me, a dozen others
Have a story, too: There isn't one. All these damn
Dead oak leaves, scratching and scattering and piling,
Old newspaper nobody reads, delivered from the skies.
They just keep putting it out.

My experience confirms that the book you never write
Is far more welcome than the one you bring to light.
They like the thought of stories left untold, the buried gold,
No need for uncomfortable stammers about meaning to pick it up,
Of being so busy, not knowing what to say. Could it be enough
To say the instrument, despite its polish, was brass,
And worn, and suffered a few dents, but it was well played?

Another story fall tells is that it will be over. You turn
A certain corner and it's a new year, and like before,
I'm walking in the door of your place, and I can't
Even take off my coat, there's such a crowd. No one
Ever quite gets the lore about New Year's Day food right--
Is it that the greens are dollar bills, the peas are coins,
The cornbread is gold? It doesn't make a lick
Of difference. Hand it out to all. All
Day, they arrive; greetings to new guests,
The scramble for another plate, another spoon.
A day of beginning, over and over again.

Photo: Mine. Typically perverse for DC, the Valley Trail is hard and the Ridge Trail is easy.


Will said...

For Willem. Really beautifully done. You pulled together several different elements. I feel like when I wrote "there was a book in there that didn't get out," it set you off a bit. Maybe

Please keep writing.

Sally Wilde said...

It did, cause I've said the same to people so often--there's always the tension among what's left behind, what dies with you, what's valued--is a creative "product" somehow "worth" more than memories and stories told--do I spend time cuddling child on the couch while we binge-watch Sherlock, or clean a floor that will get messy again, or write things that won't be read ;) -- we only have moments yet I can't deny I would have loved to have had a book or painting left by some people -- no answers, just the tension of knowing it's all there. I have been involved in a very deep reorganization and ran across an old essay from you where you describe collaring a drunk Bill Pullman at sundance and demanding to know the "meaning" of Lost Highway, which made me laugh, btw. ;)

Slothrop said...

You make me see, for the first time, things I've always known. Amazing, that.

Isn't there something more rapt & sustaining about the work that stays in your head, softly glowing & buoying you up? When you throw it down on paper it's like shadows in a cave. Codified almost. Cracked & powdered husks. If they stayed up in the air we'd always be awed by the hard ceramic glitter of each shape.

I agree (I think) that it's impossible to give beautiful concrete form to your visions w/out some's this gonna sell? Is it gonna make people like me? Can I make them "relate?"

"And I made a rural pen / And I stain'd the water pure..."

Such a looseness in unwritten work, such boundless & exciting realms.

sanberdooboy said...

disgraceful admission: when i first encountered this poem i wasn't able to stick it out all the way to the end. but it was late in the evening, and I was tired. now, on a sunday morning i have read through it several times, finding strong images. the last 2 lines are so good:

The scramble for another plate, another spoon.
A day of beginning, over and over again. you go from mundane, specific objects to a deep insight into the ways that the passing of seasons affects us. being just a few weeks from 71st birthday, i think about this all of the time. i've also posted several poems on my site that touch on this theme. if interested, please check out "fire followers."

Sally Wilde said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it! Excuse me, but noticing your screen name, I assume some connection, and I have to express that I hope you and yours find peace despite the recent tragedy.