The sky is a stoic blue, hard as a marble, with little wimpy clouds that carry nothing more than a few regrets from a dying winter. We’re here, right on the precipice of a season.
The snow and the dark wind, the impassable wastes of one’s backyard, the icy draft that leaks in under the front door tell you you have no place to go. You must sit down and allow the slightly old-fashioned language of self to drift in.
There aren’t many like him anymore, the handy, soft-spoken old ones, who still know how to farm, how to raise up a house you can live in, how to still-hunt a whitetail.
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
It’s the place where the dead are sleeping, barely breathing in the moist black earth along the creek. They will rise when the time comes, and ask the living for a candle, perhaps a dish with a cookie on it.
The inside of a nutshell is chambered like the heart, with little ridges and flanges where the nut grew and prepared itself for falling into the waiting earth. That’s what I smell when I hold up a nutshell to my nose. It is the odor of anticipation, the willingness to be sacrificed to the sharp teeth of an animal worrying the shell until it breaks.
Summer is like old gold, dark with age. You feel its strength become mellow and pliable in the soft breezes. There is wisdom in the heat that still simmers along the edges of noon, as if it were trying to tell us that illness or aging are as natural as drawing breath.
Sometimes it’s painful to watch a group of poets trying to work a room as if they were politicians. The AWP conference, as the wag put it, is comprised of 15,000 introverts pretending to be extroverts.
My mother was Italian, a passionate, sensuous woman who believed in fortune telling and heeding the voice of intuition, which was very strong inside her. She told me she had been born under a veil, meaning the amniotic sack at birth, and that this was the sign of her prophetic powers.
I never mastered the art of the hustle, and the bar, with its stench of stale beer and cigar smoke, intimidated me. I shined my father’s shoes for a dime, and scrubbed the polish off my hands with cleanser. Life is hard, and I was getting beat up by it.