Sunday, September 21, 2014


September 21, 2014

Autumn imperceptible, all the blooms still blooming.

I finished my workout at the Y and it was still dark. A tiny slim moon sailed above downtown. I sat down at the picnic table under the basswood at the edge of the YMCA parking lot, and I wrote a poem. I wonder if that had ever been done, there and then, before. It felt wonderful, actually, as though I were the Recording Angel.

A bit of vertigo. I’ll blame last night’s wine for a while longer.

Strange, misty morning. The mist makes the houses look like cut-outs pressed flat against a dark wall.

Painted yesterday. Gardened. Transcribed poems from notebooks pried from the corners of the car.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


September 20, 2014

Late morning. Ill last night, some turbulence in my stomach. I had to rise and walk the streets at midnight, and when I got back home I vomited liberally into the weed patch between my house and the neighbors’. While we’re noting firsts, I think this is the first time I vomited into my new yard, at least a weekly event across the street.

Planted coral bells with black leaves, and spurge with green flowers, and as many hellebores as the nursery had left, opening up the hemlock-shaded patch by the mailbox. I want to get my hands on the person who thought that gravel was a good idea. It underlies huge stretches of the back and east yards, as though the house once had been surrounded by it. It’s covered by a thin layer of dirt, so you don’t know until you sink a spade.

Coffee with Tom, who has a photo of himself receiving an award from Mickey Mantle.

Studying Blake does not enhance tranquility.

Friday, September 19, 2014


September 19, 2014

Woke ebullient with a conviction of well-being, physical and mental. Joy at the beginning of this day with class makes me wonder if that’s the reason for the joy. Labor is labor, however rewarding. Studied my lines on the elliptical at the Y. Sat at a picnic table under a basswood at the Y, writing about the sliver of harvest moon under the sliver of harvest moon. Felt virtuous using that peculiar public space for poetry. Vivaldi on the CD as I write now. The golden swamp hibiscus is finally in bloom, and it was worth waiting for, vast stars of refined pale gold, like sunlight falling on autumn leaves.

Thursday, September 18, 2014



September 18, 2014

Tiny haunting of screech owls from the hollies.

Received a water bill from the City, by which I knew that Will had never changed the account over into his name. Called the city and cancelled the account after Monday; called Will and told him he had until Monday to pick it up in his name. I did not remind him that I had reminded him a dozen times. I did not remind him that being freed of issues like this was the ONLY advantage I had from a deal that grossly and ludicrously advantages him. I do not get credit for my sometimes sloth-like patience.

Corelli on Pandora.

Traffic accident on Charlotte Street. One of the principals is a former student. She is collided into by the other, who has crashed the stop light.  She asks me to wait with her until the police come, fearing that her personality isn’t strong enough to convince them it wasn’t her fault unless she has a witness.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


September 17, 2014

Absorbed as much in my Blake class as my students. When we came to the phrase “All material Effects have spiritual Causes,” it was as an earthquake. Suppose I believe that; how do I affect it? How do I purge a spirit that must, if the saying is true, be dark and ailing?  If I take Blake’s answer–spiritual war–I am already doing it, without being able to see an end or any clear victory, or any release of final defeat. I did dream oddly and beautifully last night. I was at a sort of summer camp which featured a fair, and in the fair was a sort of labyrinth set in the wall, like those provided for hamsters, but big, through which leopards and bears were running with great joy. I had skipped supper, but after supper a great company of my friends from through the years appeared, looking like they did in their youth. All those I must have missed inside without thinking about too much. They chided me for being by myself, and crowded around in a show of love that I must admit never to sensing in the waking world. I took that as a sort of benediction, but on what leading to what the hours must reveal.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


September 16, 2014

Withering Monday. At the end of it I drive in pouring rain, thanking God that it’s still daylight. It is one of those read-throughs where everybody talks about motivations and details of performance. Young Macbeth thinks Shakespeare wrote in Middle English, and that Scottish kings were elected, so Duncan’s naming of a Prince of Cumberland was an illegal act which he was somewhat right in avenging. Lady Macbeth believes that her motivation can be explained by that metaphorical baby to whom she gave suck, and that she is still lactating and, having no baby to use that energy up, goes off wildly in the direction of treason. She had tears in her eyes when she was describing that the main thing Lady M wants is children, and that begets the whole folderol. One would have thought there was a more direct way to get children, but one realizes one is not, here, the professor, and keeps one’s mouth shut. Duncan’s role is really quite brief. This is a both a disappointment and a relief. Macbeth is going to be good despite his beliefs– a brusque and active Macbeth, impatient of reflection--a perfectly legitimate way to go. Lady Macbeth cannot succeed. I predict a B- performance. She is, unlike her spouse, hampered by her ideas. There is a terrible fatality to the theater, whereby you know in the first five minutes of rehearsal how far some individuals are able to go. Sometimes one has underestimated, but, cruelly, not often. They were rehearsing Urinetown in the big room, and though I hate that show, the singing sounded sensational. Drive in pouring rain home, and in utter darkness, resistant even to your headlights. Watch the story of the Roosevelts on Public TV.

Monday, September 15, 2014


September 15, 2014

First Macbeth read-through at HART. Felt immediate affection for my fellow cast members. I was introduced as the “MVP of Hamlet.”  Glad Adam wasn’t there to hear that. Steve felt it necessary to enforce that rubbish about “Mackers” and “The Scottish Play,” fearing the upset of those people who actually believe in it. I would not have given in so easily. As I die in Act I, the rehearsal schedule will make hell, for a while, only of Monday. Exhausting Cantaria rehearsal, then salad and tea at Marco’s. Going over and over unchallenging music is a kind of musical hell. I stand midway in a day that began at 6 at the Y, and will end God knows when in Waynesville, before a dark drive home.