Monday, October 31, 2011

Things I Used to Be Scared Of, Part 1

Putting on turtlenecks (because something might grab you while you're waiting to be able to see again)

 Falling asleep in a dark room
 Seeing a ghost of an old lady when I get up at night to pee
(OK, I'm still sort of scared of that one . . .)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Truth's Secretary

When I was a smaller human, I liked the idea and practice of paperwork.  
I was set up with a desk and old office supplies, and I would stamp things, and staple them, and take them to my mom for her initials, then initial them myself and put them in the proper pile. 

It was not dolor to me. 

But if my life had been only that—yes, dolor.

It was the comforting click-clack sound of stapling, the deeply familiar blue-black of the stamp pad ink.  O, how I loved my date stamp, with the moveable numbers!

Sometimes I would add a thumbprint to something, if it needed to be extra official. 

Charles Simic wrote this:  Each one of us, our poets claim, has the potentiality of being the truth’s secretary for a brief spell.”

And, anyway, “metaphor,” via Latin, via Greek means “to transfer.”  Means, also to link things, connect them, be an attentive amanuensis.  To staple together.  (Also, remember carbon paper?  Carbon paper fits in here somehow.)


To:  Joanna
Re:  Notes for a poem

The other day on the subway (the B train), the sense that everyone was doing a performance piece, playing themselves, costumed and attituded, Cindy Sherman-style.  The delight of that, the momentary satisfaction of seeing your own “character.” 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Dear Brother:

That summer Mom paid me to stay home with you during the day instead of working at the library, sorry I got up every morning and put you in front of the TV and fell back asleep on the couch for a couple hours while you watched Fraggles and your weird Maya the Bee show and the Beetlejuice cartoon, which you loved but which gave you nightmares. 

Also, you’re welcome.