Friday, July 31, 2015

July 31, 2015

Akron University Press has been annihilated as a cost-cutting measure by the University’s new vandal president (who makes over $400,000 a year and has spent $350,000 renovating his mansion). This means A Childhood in the Milky Way is in the wind. Dodd-Mead, Pecan Grove, AU have been shot from under me.
Threw shoulder out lifting weights and knee out during unnecessarily heroic gardening. Felt awful through the day, better a little now.
Temper so close to the surface– I wonder why? Too much time at home? Too much time between travels? Working too hard without any palpable return?
Dreamed last night that Ollie Messenger (these long years dead) called for a reunion of our old Indian Guides tribe. The Mingos, as I recall. Was trying to get the reunion but kept passing gigantic, commodious bathrooms, which eventually woke me with the conviction of a full bladder. How is it that Ollie Messenger lingered in my mind all this time? He was very quiet, his son very loud.


Sat in my garden at twilight. I wrote poems and was happy. I have never written like this, or only in the first electrifying months, when each line, each word was a world opened and a gate swung. Now, again. The music stands in the room and begins to play when I enter. It is miraculous, and the more so because my life for so many years has been so bare I do not know what to do with the abundance. I have been the best writer I knew. This is something different. It is off the scale as I understand it. Sat in the walled garden and imagined my mother and Mrs Deppen and my grandmothers and my grandfathers and Dr, Shaw and Hale Charfield and the boys I knew in scouting, all coming to the garden at twilight, because I invited them, because it was so beautiful I thought it might give them peace. Perhaps they do not need peace, now, but I do. And they sat in the chairs and wandered around in the grass, and I begged their forgiveness, assuming that I had failed them in some way, that I had fallen short of expectation, that I had dishonored love by not recognizing it. But I was happy, too. Is that what heaven is, sadness and joy so entwined there is no dividing them? For I would not have lost the sadness if it meant losing them. The sun was gold and the shadows of trees were emerald and my lost ones wandered in the garden, and now I have no idea what to say. That is the garden that is beyond poetry. One wanders; one keeps silent.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

July 30, 2015

Watched the sunrise from the whirlpool at the Racquet Club. It was very purple.
After work-out went to the Charlotte Street Starbuck’s and wrote. Starbuck’s ruins what is potentially the best writing venue in town by blasting bad music so loud outside that the speakers distort. I suppose they do this on purpose, to discourage loiterers, but it makes all other pursuits impossible as well. You have to creep around to the front, the soundwaves being thwarted by having to go around the corner. The morning seems so long ago that I forget I had written well until I sat down (just now) to look. Painting afterward, in the studio where the last flood pool had finally dried.  Happy for a whole morning. Not sure whether the housecleaner was finished yet, I drove to Jesse Israel and bought ferns and an anemone and oregano to set down in the garden. Did so with a maximum of sweat.
Waste time looking at videos of police brutality on the Internet. There is no end of them. New ones every day. The fact that so many are revealed by the ubiquitous cellphone camera implies that there were thousands and thousands before, and the cops never– as in never, ever– being called to account gave them a sense of impunity. The last one today was SEVEN grossly overweight cops beating and tazing one skinny black man, whom they grabbed from a room in a hospital (it seemed to me) while he was getting prepared to come with them peaceably. They beat and tazed him unremittingly, adding to their number as time went on, because he wouldn’t put his arms behind his back. He didn’t put his arms behind his back because he was trying to fend off blows of fists and batons aimed at his face. At one point the fat cops had to stop and catch their breaths, and THEN returned to beating on him. People were watching through a glass partition, doing–what? The little man kept crying “sir! Sir!” and begging for his life.  There must be something better to do about this than shed tears of rage.
Went into a trance watering the back garden. It was sweet.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 29, 2015

I smile when I see the tiny yellow lanterns of the climbing dicentria weaving in among the other flowers. I thought a late freeze killed it, but there it is, humble and secret and lovely. Beside the stump of the great fallen swamp hibiscus a new shoot feathers out. Will it have time to bloom? Perhaps not, but I applaud its pluck. Bought a table for the deck, then went to buy a chair for it at a junk store on Riverside, where I interrupted five women in the midst of bible study.  Wrote well, painted most well, and 1/3 of the day still remains.

Have taken up the Koran again. It is more argumentative than one wishes. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28, 2015

Mr Gullet, accent on the second syllable, arrived yesterday afternoon and the refinance papers were finally signed. He was a big jolly guy, whose cordiality erased some of the bad feeling. Many signatures on many pages, the one sticking out being the fact that, if I pay the minimum every month on time, I will own this house outright when I am 94. Something to aim for.
Writing poems, or at least a poem, based on 11th century mystics of Baghdad.

Pavel writes from LA that Edward the King is again on the schedule.

Monday, July 27, 2015

July 27, 2015

Hosting is hard work. But amiable work in the proportions I have accepted for myself. Huge happy party for the Ps last night. I think nearly everyone they invited came. Guinness cake and cauliflower casserole were hits; the eggplant Parmesan less so because the sauce was not right. Too thin. Cheesy eggplant floating in tomato juice. You catch bits of conversation, bits of unfamiliar lives forming into something ponderable for a moment, dissolving again. You’d say right off that a primary component of M’s nature is exuberance, but it turns out to be exuberance over one thing, the greatness of the production he was just in, and the even greater greatness of the one he’s in now. His wife is one of the great beauties of Asheville and his son is an angel of light. Some men have all the luck.
Ps are gone to their next visitation. Quiet house, a little sad. The cats walk around looking for the company they liked.
Will replenish my liquor cabinet, drained by the party, before, at long last, signing the refinance papers. The last business was done by email because I refused to talk to the Boy Brian. Rather amusing, actually. I am amazed by my fury sometimes–fury that is almost always in response to rules that are at once inflexible and idiotic.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

July 26, 2015

    M and A and I had some time together after they came back from dinner at Table. We watched an old Ginger Rogers vehicle, or rather that’s how it started. I looked around after a few minutes and they were both, independently, thumbing through items on their cell phones. I was effectively, if not quite actually, alone. But so were they. Company is disruptive, but it’s also good to make me vary my routine. I guess at the time when they will wake and rise, so I’ll be away and they can wind up and shower and explore their environment and plan their day without worrying about me. One such ploy got me to Starbuck’s before full light, where I wrote and watched the remarkable abundance of dogs. Instead of going home then–it was not time for them to leave for church-- I walked downtown, having it for a time practically to myself in the clearing gray light. Strolled to places that used to mean something to me, and to places that I didn’t recognize from any portion of my past. Found a place in the labyrinth of the Pack Place Parking Deck to urinate unseen. . . being, for that moment, homeless, and endowed with their resourcefulness. The crash of glass from Pack Place was a hobo upending trash cans to pick through and see what was salvageable. The smell of downtown Asheville on a Sunday morning is the sharp taint of old beer. That’s all right, for it means that people were having fun there a few hours before. A private garbage service (manned by handsome youths) came a little behind me, clearing and cleaning as they went. Bearded geezers walked in the parks. Everyone was walking a dog. Peered at my old gallery. That was a good thing, my gallery. The community should have supported me more, or at all. Many people would say I never appear to need help, and I suppose that, anyway, is my fault. If I knew once how to correct it, I don’t anymore. Big party for the travelers tonight. I have made eggplant Parmesan, a casserole, and cake. Have addressed my bills and correspondence, so to get them off the downstairs desk. Looking forward and wishing it were over simultaneously.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

July 25, 2015

Mother’s birthday. Fair, calm morning. The Porters not yet awake downstairs.
Worked in the studio, slopping around in water from the last flood, kept being distracted by a gleam that was, when I looked, the great floor puddle rippling in wind from the window. I have found my style and my subject matter in painting. To continue in that vein, I have found (or been given) alacrity and spontaneity in poetry that I have not had since I was a youth. Poems came through the years, but they were made. These of the last weeks have been begotten.
Drove to Cashiers through hell’s own traffic– stopped dead three times on 26; started out at 4:29, arrived at 6:45. You want to blame cops or a wreck, but there was no visible cause of the backups. In time did arrive at the public library, where there was nowhere to park. This was good, in a way, because it meant a capacity crowd for the one-act festival, which I did not expect at all. The room was indeed full. I seem to have been the only playwright who has ever attended the festival, so I was honored somewhat beyond my appetite for being honored. The remarkable thing was that the evening was good, competent, spirited, entertaining. One has such bad experiences with one-act festivals in library auditoria that even adequate is excellent. None of the plays was flat-out bad. Most of them were too long, structured like full-lengths condensed rather than organically like ten minute plays. Mine was By Far the Shortest. It was also the worst acted, for which the director apologized at the interval. “They were REALLY FANTASTIC at dress rehearsal–.” I think I may have received a commission from the Highland Theater– let’s wait for the e-mail.  But what a success for a tiny little town and a brave clutch of actors. After an excruciating talk-back– where I had to carry the banner for all playwrights at all times everywhere–I drove through intermittent rain and fog the weary miles back to Asheville. But every so often I’d pass a bog or a lake, when around me the crying of frogs would be wild and paradisial. Remind me not to drive 64 east from Cashiers at night ever again.

Friday, July 24, 2015

July 24, 2015

Michael and Amanda arrived last evening, Amanda heavily and gracefully pregnant. They seem happy to be back “home,” and reasonably happy with their new lives in Idaho. I tried to catch them up on local gossip, but am horrible at that, hearing little and retaining little of what I hear. We bellowed at each other through a late supper at Asheville Pizza & Brewing, which was loud and happy and loud and congenial and loud. I spent most of yesterday cooking for them– let me say now that eggplant Parmesan is incredibly messy and labor-intensive–to find that part of their plan is a reminiscent visit to all their favorite restaurants. So, no home meals. OK, we have a potluck Sunday. Here’s hoping people come hungry. They seem exactly as they were when they left, which is well. They gratifyingly exhibited shock at the numeral of my upcoming birthday. What sheer success their partnership is! Glad to have been there at the beginning.
Up early to meet Bill P at the Racquet Club for a work out. I attach myself to him for his normal straight guy bloke-iness, something rare and needful in my life. All the men's toilets were clogged at the gym, looking as if a herd of dinosaurs had arrived there expressly to take gargantuan dumps.

July 23, 2015

Reading Hallaj and Ben Dawid and other 10th century (4th century) mystics. They treat God as their uranian lover. Life-changing. Baghhad was a different place then. . .

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

July 22, 2015

After dawn I sat at the High Five Café under the white crape myrtle, writing. That was beautiful. But the day from noon on was monstrous, ruined, annihilated. Brian the Boy from Freedom Mortgage cancelled the closing tomorrow because I had bought the grill, and things had to be re-measured to see if that $500 had left all previous calculations vain. I wouldn’t have bought it. . . I wouldn’t have taken the 10% discount that gave me for opening a Lowe’s credit card had I known. . . I would have done anything or refrained from doing anything not to postpone the extension of this wasteful, hateful experience. I need those petty horrible people out of my life. Instead of the writing I planned I phoned Lowe’s to try to get the account #, was told I had to go to an actual store with picture ID to get it; was told at the store that they couldn’t give it to me. I launched a blue rage, frightened them into actually seeing if they could give it to me; they said there was no record, but it turns out they kept entering the card’s expiration date as my birthday, on and on. Finally got the information. Refused to talk to Brian, demanded his boss. I said that we would close tomorrow as planned or we would not do so ever. Boss man admitted it was “petty” and said he would get back to me. Waiting for that. This is EXACTLY the sort of thing in all the world I handle worst– like the TSA inspections, infinite labor to no rational end. Rules without reason. Leaning against the table now, listening to Beethoven’s “Moonlight” sonata, which is not really the thing I should be listening to. I really don’t ask that much. . . .

Morning now. JP Krieger on Pandora.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

July 21, 2015

Very weird night, the sleep restful but interrupted three times by waking after extremely vivid dreams. The dreams were about getting past barriers, like roadblocks, and circumventing powerful enemies, not dark, but bright and energizing.
Dinner at LAB with M last night, a student from one creative writing class who kept asking me for recommendations for law school. He got in, so I must not have messed that up too much. Our talk was long and merry. His anecdotes from law school and various internship made it seem every bit as alternately hideous and fascinating as one expected. The Law is fascinating; our application of it is almost too squalid to contemplate. His take on the legal system is that everyone is basically lazy, and if you understand that you can slide by a lot of crap. He is happy and handsome, as he was not at school, where he had, according to his own words, “a chip on my shoulder.”
DJ says he saw an osprey at Beaver Lake.
I contemplate that the worst people in the world today, murderous bigots, liars, the sages of ignorance, are almost to a man religious figures. I would speak for you, Lord, but you make clear what unaccountable company you prefer.

Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20, 2015

Terrible Sunday, depressed and despairing, spent mostly in bed. Dark mood for good reason. Today I am chipper and vital, a sunny mood for no reason at all. Accept both and move on. Did rouse myself from bed to go to Trinity’s wedding shower at Montford Park. Mostly old Montforders, with an astounding number– six, if counted right-- of babies. I thought they must love having the rooty pine-needly soft hillside under their bare feet. Excellent green punch. Greeted my greetings, shared my memories, climbed the hill and went back to bed. Today, by contrast. I have already achieved a day’s worth and it is 1 in the afternoon. Saw Chad on his famous TV turn as the Evil Christian, then learn he is a husband and a father. Marin Marias on Pandora.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

July 19, 2015

    Two men delivered my grill, one skinny and very redneck, one fat and refined to a degree that, in his job, seemed a superfluity. It saw them together for five minutes and noted the ways in which they were comically failing to connect. They would make a great movie. I had worked the garden hard, so I washed off the day’s sweat and drove to Waynesville for Oklahoma at HART. Lightning had struck the building hours before (my deliverymen said they had come through terrible storms around Marion) and various things were awry, but the crowd was huge, old, happy with tiny cups of white wine in their hands. I went to see Oklahoma to honor the fact that it was my first big show back in Ellet High, and after fifty years I still remembered every single word. Also do I remember the people who played those parts back then, Ron Chase and Ann Hagerman, and Tim McCorkle and Jim Nielsen– I’m not sure it wasn’t them I heard through most of it. HART’s cast was good but shallow, which is to say that once you got beneath the leads things were iffy. The chorus women were good; their singing and acting was good. The chorus men were just horrible, but in an endearing guy way, sort of the way you’d expect a bunch of random guys on the frontier to be. Sometimes bad works better than almost good. The production was excellent. The Dream Ballet was handled better (or at least more plausibly) than I had ever seen it. Even a half decent Will can be expected to steal the show, and this one did. The theater was full (I only got a ticket because someone didn’t show). But did I enjoy it? No, and the reason has entirely to do with the genre. There is something hateful to me in the full-on Broadway musical, and I know it is genuine, visceral hatred because I can’t quite put my finger on what it is I hate.  Surely I do like pretty people strutting around singing, so it’s not that. The plot of Oklahoma, anyway, is not idiotic; many of the lines were witty. Maybe because it reduces human relations to predictable stimulus/response, like an ant touching the back of an aphid. But Kabuki does that. So does Sophocles. I don’t know. Maybe just because it takes time and resources from the kind of theater I truly prize.

E’s son died at 37. I cannot stand it if we are going to begin reading the obituaries of our children. 

July 18, 2015

    Me to Steven at Lowe’s: “Saturday is OK for delivery, but it has to be in the morning. Any problem with that?
    “No problem at all. First thing in the morning.”
    Saturday morning: it’s the delivery guy at 10 AM” “We’ll be there between 4 and 6.”
    “I was told it would be in the morning.”
    “We don’t have anything in our paperwork about that–“
    ”I was guaranteed that it would be in the morning.”
    “We don’t have anything in our paperwork about that.”
    Sigh. Recognition of inevitability. . .

    Me to the barista at Starbucks: “I’ll have a venti lemonade iced tea, black tea, no sugar.”
    Her: “Would you like green or black tea?”
    “What size was that?”
    “Uhm, did you want that sweetened?”
    “What’s your name?”
    “It’s really loud in here–“
    Shrugs. I show her the name on the credit card. She shrugs again. “I don’t have my glasses.   
    I take the pen, grab a napkin, write down the name “David.”
    I hear her turn to her colleague and say, “People are so impatient anymore.”

Friday, July 17, 2015

July 17, 2015

It is Will’s belief that my eggplants were snatched by a groundhog seen marauding in the neighborhood. That is far better than the human thief I’d assumed, though the groundhog was an immaculate eater, then, leaving not a peel behind, and it does not explain the peaches, unless the hog can climb trees.
Driving: 1) I was making a left turn off Merrimon, and watched a delivery truck speed up to engage me. I thought about slowing down just to call its bluff, but had we collided I would have been in the “wrong.” 2) Traffic slowed on Merrimon by the lake down to about 15 MPH. Wondered what it was, until I saw up ahead a Sheriff’s car turn off, having slowed the traffic down 20 miles an hour behind itself because it could.  I think with all the bad press they’ve been getting of late, the cops wouldn’t do anything to attract attention.
93 degrees in the study, finally turned on the upstairs air conditioner. It doesn’t work. Thanks, Stewart.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

July 16, 2015

Wine last night with G, who left Asheville for Virginia Beach in 1986 and who was the last woman I ever dated. . . in the full sense of the word. We were good and surprising friends then, but it still surprised me to get her call. I suspected something was wrong with her marriage, and I was right, and we talked about that over wine at the Charlotte Street Pub. She looks good. She looks like herself grown old. She was the queen of the Spa, one of the most vivacious women in Asheville. Does she remember that as I do? If so, does it make her sad now that she is no longer sure if anybody loves her? I remembered her distinctive voice patterns, and the concerned nature which has now become quite motherly– she brought her 15 year old son and his friend, who skateboarded while we talked. It was good to talk to an adult. I do lament my solitariness, so it was good– “good” is not the right word– to hear the ways in which the usual course of human relations can blow up in people’s faces. Thank God she was not asking for advice, for I had none to give. Men at a certain age get frightened and turn into jerks. I saw it in my dad. I’d probably see it in me if I could stand back far enough. If we are to see each other again, that much time cannot elapse.
July 15, 2015

I remember drawings I did of Pluto when I was a child, and the people who live on Pluto. I was very well informed as things went then, and assumed my guess was as good as anybody else’s. Well, now we know.

Visit to la dottoressa. Everything is fine and most fine, weight lost, blood pressure down, alarming things once found in the urine gone. A waste of time, unless peace of mind is a commodity.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

July 14, 2015

Wondrous still morning. Dark, damp. Wind came last night, blowing out the upstairs screen and breaking my 10’ swamp hibiscus off at the base. It was maybe two days from blooming.  Went to harvest my eggplants, to find they had all been stolen, cut off with a knife. The peaches, also stolen, were visible from the street, but this was more intimate. Whoever did it had to know they were there, and walk to the depths of my property. This is not the sort of neighborhood in which people actually need food. If I thought that was the case, I’d forget about it. Felt off physically yesterday, feel well today, How to figure these things? But for spot revision, I have finished “The Law of Christ among the Birds.”

Monday, July 13, 2015

July 13, 2015

Hard rain. Even though the sound of it on the roof is a little disquieting, I bless the gods for it. I can hear my lilies and roses sucking it in.
Productive session at the studio yesterday. Painted intricate fish.
Did my workout–a good one–this morning, then went to soak in the hot tub, where an unexpected things happened. I started crying for no proximate reason, and had a hard time stopping.  Some ugly old guy bawling in the hot tub. Luckily, I don’t think anyone looked at me. Why was this? I couldn’t think of any reason then. But I think now, perhaps, that the building was full of beautiful young men, and on one simple level I was lonely, and on another more complicated level I perceived a life dedicated to beauty which has had so little of it for itself. Almost none that was not environmental or accidental. I had awakened thinking God was unfair in most conceivable ways, and I suppose this was not out of my system when I sank down in the steaming water. Another perception is that I have been more creative in the last few weeks than I have been in decades, creative to a level equal to any time in my life, and yet, when I put the pen down, I cannot keep the thought away that it will amount to nothing, that I will continue as I have been blazing in the stratosphere without once being seen. It all ties together, now that I’ve written it down. I was angry over the drought, too, but I can leave that be.
Need to decide if the Descent of the Muse is random (as I think it is) or predicated upon idleness (as I sometimes also think it is) in which case I maybe should be thinking about retirement. I asked Terri if I could have a birthday gathering at AM, and realized that I was embarrassed to include my actual age in the invitation. It seemed at once pathetic and immodest.
One of the men I admired in the weight room joined me in the hot tub, and invited me to a class he teaches in some kind of Russian martial arts I forget the name of. I’ll probably go, even if only to leave God no opportunity to say “I tried–“

Sunday, July 12, 2015

July 12, 2015

Excellent evening of dance at the Wortham with Motion Dance Theater, all new pieces, elegantly performed. There were videos of explanation before the dances, which someone should have told them to omit, for the works were better than the theory allegedly behind them. And somewhat contradictory to it. One of them, called D.E.J.A., was a masterpiece. It also had the least repellent self-summary, being mainly about how different bodies affect the unfolding of a dance. I think I know where people got the idea that art is process– from schoolteachers and ignorant, well-meaning committee persons who want to democratize what is essentially an elite enterprise-- but the visible truth is that no good art ever comes from fixation upon process, but only from concern for product. There is no lasting process in art, only enduring product. People profess in opposition to what they actually do. I want to talk to the dancers and choreographers about this, beginning with the statement that I loved their work. Modern dance is difficult to be precise about in words. My nature inclines me to impose a narrative on everything–or, to put it the way I actually see it, to assume there IS an essential narrative to all things, which they want me to extract and regard. But the dances at many points seem deliberately to be thwarting narrative. Perhaps that IS the narrative. Anyway– lovely night, with drinks at Aloft on both ends.  Our waitress was ecstatic that we new a little about her home country of Macedonia.

Still a little wacky from the anti-inflammatories, which must be at least in part pain-killers. Didn’t stop me from writing hugely at the Charlotte Street Starbucks as the sun rose.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

July 11, 2015

Woke early and mildly unwell, a combination of gout and too many cashews. Are those two things related? The gout, I understand now, was being personified in my dreams as a lanky farmer with red hair. He was introduced to me and I liked him, but was working hard trying to find something for him to do. That was the Gout in my dreamworld. Cannot even try to analyze.
A screech owl was calling from my pine tree when I hobbled into the bathroom for the pills.
Wonderful progress on the giant poem.

Friday, July 10, 2015

July 10, 2015

Hard lifting at the gym, then continued with bags of mulch from Reems Creek, first putting them in the truck, then hauling them out, then tucking in the backyard peach and a couple of roses.

Sat at the Racquet Club Café and wrote on my ever-expanding bird poem. The words were honey. Kids gathered around. It looked like they were part of an embroidery team (embroidery floss was everywhere) but I don’t see how that could have been. The day is hot and the house is hot and I walk from one locus-of-the-fan to another. I could turn on the air-conditioning, but that seems worse to me, somehow, than sweltering for a few days. Much drowsing and sleeping, but why not? Vivid dreams.

Nick and his boys finished digging up my Lakeshore thicket. I admire men working together without even having to speak.

On toward evening with a sense of accomplishment.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

July 9, 2015

Wednesday was one of those days of perfect cheerfulness. I slept and woke and could hardly tell the difference between the two. I anticipated H and P’s visit with joy, and it was joy when they came and we spent the morning together. When we parted–Jesus, twenty years ago-- H was sinking fast and dragging me down. I looked forward to nothing good for him. I couldn’t help him anymore. He seemed doomed by his own disposition. But I was wrong, or his vessel righted, and time finds him triumphant, with two strong sons and a joyful countenance, the former dark twists in his nature undetectable. I’m glad he gave me a second chance.
The Spirit of Poetry descended on me, and I have been writing poetry at a rate and a level I have not for many months. Sat in Edna’s and wrote. Sat at my green table and wrote. Sat this morning at the picnic table outside the Y under the pale half moon and wrote. I ask at the end of every bout of composition, “how much better do I have to be than anyone else for how long before I have equal reward?” and there is no answer. Sometimes it is possible to smile ruefully and go on.
Harvested my first eggplant of the summer. It is perfect. The first hibiscus are in mammoth burgundy bloom.
Did a little summer gardening before the heat of the day, planting mollis and spiderwort.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July 8, 2015

Lovely apres-cinema on the back lawn with DJ and Russell. Conversation. Holy bug-infested darkness.

Facebook raises certain dilemmas that ordinary life does not. L, whom I have known since the sixth grade in Akron, is a racist redneck ignoramus whose prejudicial hatred of President Obama rises to the level of treason. Many times I have thought to blast her and then de-friend her, but was stopped by the question, “Is it worth it?” In some ways it is, if to tolerate is to approve. So far I have been able simply to ignore it, though other friends who have seen her postings on my Timeline have attacked her rightfully. Maybe I should let them do it. Maybe I should trust that her opinions are so outrageous as to be no danger to the reasonable. She is as she ever was, trusting “I’m just as smart as you are” to carry her absurdities to the end of the argument. She used to be quite beautiful.

John Robinson has died.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

July 7, 2015

My second birthday. By it I am 39. I’m still waiting for the expenditure of that event to be fully redeemed.

What should Europe do about Greece? Consider it a brother and forgive its debts. Bad business is sometimes correct life.

Bluebirds in my backyard. Somebody snatched my first harvest of peaches (seven of them) I’ll take bluebirds for peaches as an even trade, almost.

Brought a painting home for my wall, a good one. Sat on the sofa so long looking at it that I fell asleep.

Movie and beer with friends tonight. Looking unexpectedly forward.
July 6, 2015

Hampered all day by the conviction that it was Sunday.

Good painting at the studio.

Found spent rockets in my yard. I knew they were being launched from the supermarket parking lot, but a few were apparently launched at me.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

July 5, 2015

The day divides in half– a productive morning, an early afternoon nap, then afternoon and evening, which seems like a different day, so much so that I almost forgot that I revised A Time before This Time out of Once in Syracuse and painted well, all before noon. Delicious sleep in my room in the intermittent rain. Up and stirring now for the second half.
Zach’s client Dr. C seems to have cured the itching I’ve suffered for many months now. It became impossible to receive a massage without violent scratching (the itch was more like a burn, and the nerves began to convulse if I didn’t scratch) and sometimes whole days would pass with my digging away at one part of my body or the other. Smeared lotion on myself, thinking it might be dry skin. But he assumed it was histamines in my system, recommended a pill for that, and I haven’t itched once since. The question of what histamines are and how did they get under my skin can wait for another time. My own doctor had no clue, or if she did she didn’t bother to say.
Tiger lilies in spectacular bloom.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

July 4, 2015

Little owl calling in the night rain.

Fireworks from the Grove Park last night, visible above my trees. The cats didn’t like it.

Have noticed a dissociation between me and my memories, me pushing some of them back as they arise, not because they are bad, but because they seem not to lead to the sort of life I am willing to live, or, as time grows short, to have lived. Reading my big biographies of Williams and Tennyson et al, I do wonder what a biographer could say of me. Have I had incidents in my life? A visible direction? Has anyone bothered to have insight into what I do or how I am? When people do express something of the sort it always seems skew to me, like a blow that has glanced just off target. When I try to do so myself, to plunge in and down, I detect a rich world, but one that I have made deliberately strange, seeking for, longing for, demanding something else. It has, in any case, been pointlessly hard.

Oddly comforting rhythm of the washing machine downstairs.
Unexpectedly spend the day on poetry.
I find a photograph in a box from my mother's closet. A baby sits in a highchair, a pillow at his back because he's too small. The apartment too is small, and whoever is taking the picture can't back away far enough to get the edges in. The highchair has a metal tray that can be removed for cleaning. The arms of the highchair are padded. The baby's right hand rests on a padded arm. The left hand cannot be seen. Behind are a couple of kitchen cabinets, a chest of drawers between them on which sits one of those baskets covered with gauze that people send fruit in when somebody is sick. The line of the window is softened by a polka dot curtain. On the table in front of the baby is a round glass serving dish and on the dish a birthday cake shaped like a heart. Something is written on the cake at an angle the camera does not catch. I know it is Happy Birthday Davy, because I know the baby is me. Out of the cake heart soars a single burning shaft of candle. The baby's face is a mask of ecstasy. Whether mesmerized by the candle or by its being his first birthday or by sheer life, he is radiant. His mouth opens in the sideways O of delight. The baby is not especially beautiful, but he is happy. He focuses on the one point, the shaft of light. If there were only someone to ask. If someone else were in the picture, a third point beyond me and the candle to establish a plane. But there's just his -- my-- eyes and the dancing single light, the rest of the room effectively empty. Focused. Obsessed. Delighted. So I know it was like that from the first.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

July 1, 2015

Reading an old biography of Tennyson by his son Hallam. Fascinating. AT was apparently a big, shapely, handsome man, popular with everyone, and smarter than I am in the habit of crediting him to be. As a member of the Apostles he seems to have initiated discussion on whether the brain of man is descended from the brains of more primitive creatures– way before Darwin, though it must have been in the air. His position was argued down because annelids and molluscs and the like (so the argument went) have no brains for anything to be descended from. When science contradicts science, some science must be wrong.
Discussion with Brian the mortgage guy last night went well, and I behaved, and I gather that everything which needs to be done is done.  He sounded happy. It must have been a payday for him. Plus, I did not, this time, bite his head off.
Reading in GQ about style and the men who have it. Realized that if I were required to dress in or even to describe my own “style” in manner of dress, I would have no idea what to say.