I don't remember who taught me about this very serious disease that parents get, whereby they believe that the sun shines from their child's ass, but I always try to keep it in mind when I'm on the verge of praising Squire. Everybody thinks their own kids are great, it's a good way to make sure we don't kill them when they're annoying. Also, if we didn't think our own kids were fantastic, who would? Like, this is the person who you are hormonally gifted to unconditionally love; if you can't do it, who will?
This game is about stacking. You start with the top priority which is pretty predictably a man but you cannot find him unless you get all the little numbers out of the way first. In that step you have to start small and work up; once you get into the steps with people you start big and work down. So you're stacking in two different directions, basically. Like work, as soon as you manage one thing you have a new thing to manage, over and over, but unlike work eventually you clean up everything right and then it is done and there is a moment of satisfaction before shuffling into the next round. You have to remember that when you're dealing with people the rule is that opposites attract but when you're dealing with the little things you have to put like with like, which reminds you both of feng-shui and your pointy-headed approach to legos. Work to work, money to money, the satisfying snap of one thing on top of another. Meanwhile the people: a space clears for a man and you slide the mismatched woman on top of him. In this game it is possible to cheat but you are only cheating yourself so it is not as satisfying as cheating can usually be though it has the same weight of guilt. You can play this game on the computer and then it even cleans itself up afterwards and disappears when you want it to, like when someone comes in the room and thinks you are working, click once to minimize or twice to make it disappear. Anyway this is not a game to play when you have other people around and interestingly if you play it long enough those people will magically appear, which is why it is also called patience.
This metaphor likes to go for walks on the beach. He probably likes sunsets, too, and holding hands. Long slow kisses. But anyway the beach. Walking along collecting pebbles and looking for precious stones, maybe something somebody else threw away. Every step there are more pebbles and he turns them all over, it's a slow walk is what it is, so much attention to be paid, and he's trying to pay attention, although it's hard with so many things to look at. Not this one not that one not the other. In the morning light the water on the pebbles makes so many glint with promise and he picks several, dries them on his sleeve, throws some back, puts others in his pockets. His pockets now heavy with stones he's collected, thumping comfortingly against his legs as he walks, honestly he can barely keep his pants up but he keeps walking, turning, tossing, collecting. He's not even sure what he's doing any more; his attention now entirely on collection rather than on possession. The bowls in his house fill with pebbles, stones, gems too, all neglected, and the beach empties, and he cannot stop looking for what he might already have.
CAN I HELP YOU WITH SOMETHING? SERIOUSLY WHAT.
In search of a poem that I had mostly memorized in 1990 but was a little hazy on, lo! these many (23? sheesh) years later, I went digging through a box of paper that will either fascinate or terrify whoever goes through my stuff after I die. Here are poems I liked, torn out of the New Yorker in this case, or often photocopied or even copied by hand from books. Notes I took during poetry readings when I used to go, and even some fliers I made for readings of my own. The best reading I ever did was with Scott Soriano, who put a steak on his face and squirted blood out of it while reciting a poem that was a revision of Howl, but about Carls Jr., this was 1989 I guess. Most performance art seems kind of a disappointment to me after that.
What else was in that box, Anne? Oh, children, gather round and see. Here are poems that a friend wrote, and songs. I haven't talked to him since he left Prague, that was 1995 I guess, but I can still sing one of the songs and every year I tell the joke I first heard from him, that Jan Hus was a man with a lot at stake. Also poems by my former insane roommate, no longer my roommate and probably even no longer insane. Poems by people I took classes with. No letters, because those are in another box around here somewhere.
So many things by other people. I can't bear to toss it (and anyway it's just this one box) because even though the smell of the mimeograph machine has faded from them, my memory of exactly how I felt the first time I read some of these poems stays fresh, and I am transported back to sixteen, or twenty-six.
And things I wrote as well. Mostly poetry. Oh, so young and earnest! My love was a tree, you guys, and also a glass of water. Already with the metaphors, and THAT earnest. And also one letter I wrote that I made a copy of for myself, stored separately from the other letters. It is three pages long, and tearstained, and so absolutely naked with pain that I want to get that girl a blanket and cover her. It has the range of a great battle, from the personal to the general, from Greek mythology to Red Hot Chili Peppers lyrics, except it is clear that I was mostly fighting with myself, as the object of my affection had long since left me. I sat there this afternoon, with these pages in my hands, thinking: should I throw this out? Because this does not really go with how I see myself now, and it is so painful to remember this that it is almost embarrassing. Back when I used to find it easier to tell the whole truth than to hold it in, even if it sliced me open on the way out.
I mean: now, I want to finish something, and I know I can just just sit very still until you go. It's to the point where sometimes I hear the words before you say them, and I smile and say lightly that it was my fault anyway, sorry, and my teeth clamp over my tongue before I can say another word, and I wave goodbye and I don't look back until I know you're not looking. No more tearstained outpourings from this corner, no more bleeding the truth. So now I remember why I keep the letter, and fold it back into the box, as gently as I wish someone had been with me, put a lid on it, put it back in a quiet safe place.
Hey so it's fall, my favorite season when I can get it. Last year was summer and then it rained for a week and it was windy and all the trees went from green to bare, like strippers who don't know that the tease is at least half of the point. I mourned the lack of transition, and it made me grumpy(ier than usual) for the winter.
This year lacked the Indian summer we were promised, but still: fall is falling. The leaves on fire, yellow and red, and crunching nicely underfoot most days (though not this morning, as it rained last night). The morning wants hats and gloves already, but by afternoon most of us carry them around if there's a little sunshine. Trying to grab the last bits of vitamin D, like the last drops of syrup in the bottle. Sweet, sweet, and disappearing. In the evening our speech is puffs of smoke on the clear cold air.
So I'm happy. I do like a season, it's one of the best parts of living here. A transition. A sense of movement. Like a new year every few months.