Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Scribbles 1

Last night we had a friend over who spent years working with Youth at Risk. Seeing through the tunnel at the end of which there is no light, namely the imminent end of federal funding, he's returned to school to study for a degree in psychology. One of his instructors, noting that counselors, in the face of others' anguish, need to take care of themselves, suggested drinking water and then urinating between sessions.

Lauren Berlant notes the dis-engagement between appearance and feeling (an exuberant friend killed herself). In sum, she writes, a mood is neither anchor nor plot.

I discovered my sense of humor during my worst depression.

She left the keys in her car on the bridge, then “vaporized.” Self is usually bounded, but self-loss is total, complete. An anchor and a plot (though if the body's never found . . . )

Smarter than they are wise, academic conversations circle us, performing acts of magic, which then vaporize. There are no keys to the spirit, which is taboo, “infected” by (pat) association with religion.

The Baby Who Cries wailed half the morning, then quieted down. He is crying again. Sounding up. You can call 911 for a “welfare check,” good for its pun, if not its efficacy. His mother has an accent, Radhika tells me. His father is often away, a neighbor explains. “I cried like that when I was a baby,” the man with the dogs tells me. I wonder how he knows that.

Stuck between speakers. Had to download her blogpost and carry it into another room, because Talking Man next door was on the phone. Something about Las Vegas. Radhika wondered why we don't go there on vacation. All her friends' families do.

We mean to observe the ordinary, as discipline, as odd faith, without wanting ourselves to be ordinary. (Except for Bryant, who claims he's “average.”) The writer's position, always in the ad court, toeing the fragile verge of winning, without yet owning the set.

Another friend said Vegas is the perfect place to be a poet. It's the real unrealized, or the surreal serialized. I want is different from I need, we tell our kids. The Strip must be what solders them (need, desire) to us, like a grocery list to a neon sign.

Brad said that the next part of the hike, beside (and umpteen times across) the stream, was “less scenic" than the valley's steep sides.  But the sound!  Direct your attention away from the “image” and toward the “babbling.” (These are my directions.) One friend had a spiritual experience when he heard a brook talking before he could see it. The musicians assured us that percussion is also melody. He tuned his drums well.

Pitched past pitch. Dark tar or third inning of a game already past salvage. Pitch it out! she'd say. Poets these days have pitches. Where the work circulates in markets we want to imagine, until we're told they hardly exist. Her best-selling book sold fewer than 300 copies. Shocked? An invitation to sea-sickness. My publishing ethics will sport a shiny sticker. Grieving is 30% off this week only.

I felt sad at the beach. I pissed in the sea.

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