Nov. 1st, 2004

raybear: (the moon)
I was doing okay this morning, until I went outside. Rain, rain, cold cold rain. I hated it. Each step I felt worse and worse, walking in the rain to go stand in the rain for a bus to a train to place where I would walk more in the rain. Each step I was ready to turn around and give up. It was very dramatic. Foul moods usually are, I guess. But I started thinking about part of the dharma talk yesterday, about the poem she said which was basically "The rain pours. It stops. The sun shines. The rain pours again." It was not an immediate epiphany of feeling better at all, no, but more a slow thaw of my icey negativity and cynicism and proclivity for quitting because I'm feeling just slightly discouraged. Then the bus came fairly quickly and my ipod helped me feel better, playing "Praise You" and The Waitresses' "Square Pegs".

This morning I had to go to the special collection library which is a hassle and I'm scared of one of the librarians but he wasn't there, instead there was a very helpful and kind woman so it went smoothly. I was copying the American Poetry Review and it was interesting to realize how I know so much more about poetry now, by proxy, which is not to say I know a lot, it's just I knew nothing before. So I guess my schooling isn't going to waste. Except I'm still feeling crappy about my own writing and my idea, that I'm muddling through, tapping at the keyboard and only 'pretending' to write. Then I saw this poem which in some indirect ways is a lot like the story in my head I'm trying to get out. So I copied it and put it in my pocket.

What I Know About Myself

I always have to wash my hands
before my wife and I make love.
She likes the feel of clean hands
and I the feel of soapy hands,
so warm, so slick, so like
the secret places that we'll
soon be sharing.

A friend told me a story once
about a woman who planted a bomb
in a French cafe in Algiers.
The woman, Algerian, hadn't wanted
to do it. The men had told her
she must, it was her duty.
A hand, a French woman's hand
had landed at her feet.

"Men," my friend had said, "love war.
Women endure it, but men love it.
You were there. You know.
Say you deny it. I don't care."

She reached for a book of photographs
from Vietnam. She'd been there, too.
"Look at the women's face," she'd said.
"Look at them all. Those women
never looked at you. How could they
look at men with rifles
poiting at them? Look how young
you are. How innocent. How evil."

She'd covered five wars and never
gotten used to it, God bless her.
She knew I knew what she meant,
and she was right.
"Our hands will never be clean,"
she'd said, "but we must try."

And so I do, washing my hands
again and again of the filth
I've touched and never want
to touch my wife
I want clean hands
to make Anne sigh and spread
and share those secret places
what I know about myself
I can't find.

-- W.D. Ehrhart


I don't want to be lazy anymore.

May 2010

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