Wednesday, June 8, 2016

In the midst of everything I wrote a poem. Back and forth I went, between editing and drafting, cooking and drafting, editing and drafting, mowing and drafting. There was a rhythm to the work, a meter I haven't felt lately in my life. All day long I rewrote the poem, and this morning, as I read it again, I see that I have finished it.

In the green darkness the baby crows are screaming for breakfast. A vase of lupines trembles on the table. This day is the same as all the others. Eating, sleeping, crying, fading.

Now my new unshaped collection contains seventeen poems. Song Book. That still feels like the title.

Last night I dreamed that I had not passed eleventh-grade English because I had forgotten to go to class for an entire year. In the same dream I also lost control of my car: the steering and the brakes failed, and I ran over a man in a parking lot. In my rear-view mirror I could see his crushed body with one arm still in the air, as if he were waving, or surrendering. I knew that this terrible crime would not have happened if I'd gone to English class.

Then I woke up and read about Mickey Mantle's dreams:
Mickey Mantle's final years in baseball were hard ones. His body had worn down and his talents were eroded, and he was playing, in his final years, for weak teams. . . . At night he had terrible recurring anxiety dreams. In one of them he would arrive at the ball park late only to find that the game had started without him, and he would have to find some way of getting through the wire fence so that he could play with his teammates. In another he got to the team bus just in time and got to the game and came up to bat. He would hit the ball hard, but then he would seem immobilized at the plate and he would be thrown out at first by a good throw from the outfield (David Halberstam, October 1964).
How we torment ourselves.

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