While Mr. Ramsay tries to make it to R from Q and Mr. Reznor insists that he needs your discipline, I suggest that I need your help—yes you dear reader—in tightening up these scribbled lines from several weeks ago when my tire blew out and my meds had run out and I was unable to teach class. I think many of them are good. I do not know which words to remove or which words to add, and I know that some of you who read this blog have fine poetic and editorial sensibilities. See Dennis Doherty's poem "Swagger (For Hemingway)" for the source (unconscious at the time I wrote these lines) of the section on sentences in need of mending. Also, I am aware of the homosexual overtones in the second stanza. They weren't there in real life, but I feel the language I use in that section is true to what happened, physically, with the car parts, so I don't know what to do there, either. So, from my little notebook:
With blown tire and raw red hands
Roadside gaping, grasping for agape
Not to be found in men
It's all crushed Busch cans
and rusty barbwire fences
Pestilential dust of last year's leaves
Rust and metal that does not give
And cold that will not leave
One good man stopping makes all the difference
Back and forth between my white beetle
and his black pick up truck until
the nuts bust and give and the
defeated husk of black rubber
collapses like the cloak of an evaporated
One tries to attend to one's duties
In these unexpected blowouts.
Phone calls placed are not enough.
Confused students scratch heads and
shuffle back to dorm rooms.
Secretary calls back to point out
"Time is of the essence," "Leave your
classrom number and section next time,"
and all the work she had to do on account
of your sloppy negligence.
(As your toes freeze and you knock knees)
Your empty orange bottle haunts you.
Is this an omen of things to come?
How will the rest of this day unfurl?
Last night, you were alternately afraid
and exhilirated at the faceless
ordinary day ahead of you,
On the other side of the river Styx of sleep.
ghosts alsways emerging.
(Father in absentia.)
(Ex-girlfriend "don't touch me.")
Supplicate the mystery to fill you,
to ring through you, to make
of you one exquisitely resonant chord.
"Are you croyant?"
"At night." I try, I reach, I see,
The bell that tolls is Dasein
And all I hold is the memory of
the wretch with the busted heart
blacking lungs with Lucky Strikes.
Your family was kidnapped by
time, distance, and stupid, obstinate
On the roadside in the morning cold
You feel useless and alone
Even after your partner stops
by with gloves.
The sentences you will mend today
Show no more promise of holding
than these tumbled rock walls
running uselessly through all of these
New York woods.
On the way to work, new tire
in place, the vultures pull
violently from the same half-frozen