Wednesday, July 30, 2014


July 30, 2014

Will left me a note saying the first great assault-by-weed-whacker comes today, so yesterday I hurried to 62 to see what else I could save. Got a rose (it may be another Mr. Lincoln, but who has too much red?) and a cinnamon fern, went back for the two hart’s tongue ferns. As I was digging them up I ran afoul of another yellow jackets’ nest (or the same one grown imperially huge) and was stung repeatedly before I could pull the last fern from the ground. Somehow this attack didn’t infuriate me as much as the first one did, though like it, it smarted all night, and I still feel the stings this morning. I believe that I’ve raised my lifelong sting count by a half this summer alone.  Before I had quite got the re-planting done, an attack of gout roared up in my right big toe, an immense one, the kind where there is nothing to do but sit and writhe. Took the pills. Writhed. Moaned a little. Had to go to Ann’s for a meeting with a student about the Roman plays of Shakespeare and, figuring it wouldn’t hurt in one place more than another, I went. Forgot that it would be additional agony pressing the accelerator and the brake. Especially the brake. Prayed for the idiots in front of me to get away from the green light before I had to brake. The pills made me so groggy I hope I didn’t fall asleep talking to the bright and eager kid. Made it through the night. Sending my bit of Hungarian lace to my niece this morning.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


July 29, 2014

Cool morning, the last many hours scrubbed to emerald and sapphire by storm.

I have sometimes remarked and often recognized that my appearance is totally unrelated to my spirit, not at odds with it, maybe, but not a clear picture, not a true part of the narrative. I don’t look like who I am. Opening a magazine yesterday, I had a shock in seeing my true face, the face I would have if I looked like who I am. It was a boy in a fashion ad, solemn and maybe a little suspicious in expression, but the soul of me. I tore the page out, and every time I look at it, the surprise, the unquestionable recognition is renewed. Our dialog is still too mysterious for me to put into words.

I wish I knew what to believe out of a host of plausible mythologies. Either God got it wrong, or I did something before this birth to skew things just enough that the skew is the base point of all my thought.

Finished Washington Place with the revelations that came in the night.

Monday, July 28, 2014


July 28, 2014

Marin Marais on Spotify

The meadow rue is crowned with delicate lilac flowers. Every time I see it I am filled with a swelling of joy. What is better, I forget that it’s there, so each time I enter the back bathroom and discover it in its shady corner, the pleasure renews. There came a tremendous thunderstorm last night, the rain as hard as I ever hope to see it, for a few minutes. When I peered out into the dark this waking, I saw that the lawn chairs had been blown into the rue’s plot. I rushed out, but even in the dark I could see that the lacy plant stood firm, despite the storm, despite the masses the storm hurled at it. The metal watering can was blown from under the back porch and half way across the lawn. The screen was blasted out of the attic window.  One pine limb is down, but in the dark I could see no other damage. No need for watering today.

Progress on the Triangle play.

Selection of Brando’s Cat by Changing Scene in Tacoma for their summer festival.

Got tickets and a room at the Paramount for Adam’s Twelfth Night.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


July 27, 2014

Stiff wind coming from an unusual direction makes something in or near the house whistle, high, clear, a little disturbing until I find out what it is. I thought someone was outside my window playing the penny whistle.

Odd dreams, in which it was desperately important to be somewhere, and by no means could one get there. Looking for parking places in a dream. Trying to get cell phone service in a dream. Chris Tanseer was my companion.

Had a ticket for last night’s NC writers’ banquet, but in the end the Airport Road Clarion did not exert enough pull to draw me out of the house, where I, in any case, was hard at work on my Triangle play.

Saturday was a strenuous day first of cleaning out the garage for Will and settling the things thus uprooted, mostly at the Riverside space. Stopped by the hardware store for one plant to fill in a corner, came away with half a dozen, which required the turning over of new garden patches. Two brown irises ready for next year, two blue Japanese irises, a dark red tree peony, butterfly weeds to intensify the already orange-y front garden. The weather was glorious; anything one did in it was blest.

I suppose disgust with bad poets who make themselves public is a minor motif of my life. The problem is that so many of them mean so well.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


July 26, 2014

Hadn’t expected yesterday to turn into Gardening Day, but it did.  After the hewing of the walnut, and recalling what Will had said about his plans for 62, I decided to get out as much of what was imperiled as I could. The bloodroots are so entangled with other things this time of year that I could extract only one. I took another native hibiscus, the Mr. Lincoln rose, a big fern, a peony (the one left with the oddest foliage), and an iris that came up with the peony. Watered hugely and often against the dry heat of the day. The rose came out of the ground as though it had never committed to the space where it was planted a few years back. In a fit of enthusiasm I ordered four roses on the Internet, and will have to dig more garden to put them in, having filled all readily available land in six months.

Reading at Malaprops afterwards, dismal except for the encountering of old friends. It wasn’t the emcee's reading, but he is such a show-off you came away thinking it was. Was meant to attend another reading at the Wolfe House, but it was too crowded and I was too dispirited. I coveted the cake being served, but it seemed too crass to grab a slice and run. Did have a calm Riesling at the wine bar. The man beside me never stopped fiddling with his phone, except to tell me a particular seat was taken, which it wasn’t. I do not resist messing with my phone; I am not even tempted, having grown up with such a near-morbid attentiveness to the world around me.

Sally Stang posts a photo of me from Hiram. It’s the way I look today, in my own mind. I’m biting a nail in some forgotten anxiety.

Friday, July 25, 2014


July 25, 2014

I don’t know what I was dreaming, but I woke while the dream was uttering the line, “and we went to live in the stone city of the Nabateans.”

Mother’s birthday. She would have been ninety today– the same age as my house. That is a startling thought, for I think of the house as very old indeed, as something from a bye-gone age, and I never think of her that way. For she never was. She never saw her 50th year. It’s hard for a child not to know whether his mother loved him or just sort endured him. I have always assumed the best, and then let evidence wear down the golden edifices through time. But. . . no matter now.

It is a comfort–amid all these things–to understand that when the writing all but writes itself, then it is right.

The sky’s an odd green-gray before dawn.

Cut down the last of my black walnuts. Its revenge was that it was covered in ticks.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


July 24, 2014

Watched an old Tarzan movie, Tarzan’s Secret Treasure, which I probably saw in my youth a dozen times. Get to hear Jane’s operatic screech. Boy pursues a sea turtle in an African pond. What struck me in particular this time was the actor Barry Fitzgerald. He had worked at the Abbey with W. B Yeats and Lady Gregory, and there he was acting the fool in a Tarzan flick. It was difficult to cram all into one concept. Emotional roller-coaster summer. Are they all, and I just forget? Yesterday was good. Peg came by to see the new house, bearing a loaf of bread. Will says his floor guy says that the floors at 62 look barely cat vomited-upon at all.