Wednesday, December 24, 2014

went out for my walk tonight - i walk about three miles, mostly around a pretty urban park - and the texas sky was dramatic. a stiff cold wind was coming from the north, or maybe northeast; wild clouds were trucking right across the sky. one time around the park and they were gone, tucked off in a corner of the sky i couldn't see well. the stiff wind bit at my cheeks and dried my skin. it's actually been a little wet - it snowed earlier today - but, it seemed like it was isolated wet clouds in an otherwise dry windy high-plains kind of weather pattern. the moisture, in other words, was an illusion.

now there was a bicycle lying there in the city park, up against one of the signs, but as i walked by i could see that it wasn't locked to the sign. and, strangely enough, it was very similar to one that was stolen from me about a year ago, a kind of mountain bike, but i could tell it was not the same one; in fact, it was more colorful. but, unlocked, city park, nobody anywhere near it, i almost felt like it was being offered back to me. i didn't touch it. i've become accustomed to walking, but, more importantly, it wasn't mine. just 'cause someone leaves it in the park, doesn't mean they're giving it away, does it?

so then, i got into the usual train of thought: my poems. i have over a thousand now; i can easy trim a few and just publish what i've got. there are three states, NC, VT, OK - for which i have not added any poems whatsoever. there are a few more - HI, NH, RI - that i consider woefully inadequate. but i get stuck - i go for long periods of time where i have nothing to say about a given place, and it just doesn't come; this is one of those periods. i can conjure up things to say about other places, maybe, and this is what i worked on; in fact; my present plan is to make this an issue that stays true to the reality of the trip, which would be the hitchhiking, the seventies. now this would bring on a couple of dilemmas. one is that i have been fairly fanatic about capturing the most interesting moments of the trip, though i'm not always true to the geography. but some of the wildest moments were actually in mexico, canada, or in the sea - do i move them across an international border? i'm tempted to capture the essence of the trip, in which case, i should. on the other hand, to really be true to the situation, i shouldn't....i haven't worked this out, to be quite honest. and some states, i was in only at night (DE, SC) - virtually everything i know, i learned from reading or talking to people, but i don't know how much of that was true back in, say, 1975, which is the time we're talking about here. how do i write anything at all? to be true to the trip, write about nighttimes, maybe.

as i read through my old work, trying to glean out what is still usable, etc., i am struck by what a fanatic i've been all along about geography. it's as if one single spot must come through, and if it doesn't, it's a bit general. if we just know the state, that's a bit general. but it's the same with the kigo, or season clue. a lot of those are quite general (he's camping in new york? must be summer...) - too general, in fact, as you could easily come back at me with proof that one can, in fact, do all kinds of things in all seasons. so these poems sometimes have two general clues...general on the place, and general on the time, and now i'm wondering, what about general about the era? is it similarly better to put it in the seventies, as a better option than leaving it timeless, or time-independent, might be a better word. don't know the answer to this. i'm expected to take a stand any day now.

house is full of boxes, unwrapped. my wife is an online shopper; i shop only at local stores that are not owned by far-right-teaparty-nutjobs. but there's only one, that i know of, so most of my gifts are barnes & noble this year, don't tell anyone, or the line between santa & dad will become just that much blurrier. most of the time i sit around and watch them get steadily more excited about the possibility of loot, and i think, one should be a pirate. why bother with these lists? get right on down to that unfettered greed, which is best demonstrated by a good game of monopoly, and everyone just go for what they can get. and why bother with the wrapping? that's something you do to meditate calmly about the preparation and serving over to someone, the presentation, in a colorful paper, of a gift....ah well, another year down the drain. this stuff is going out there in cardboard.

the wind howls off the northern part of the south plains, and i admit i like it. like my son said, let it snow about a foot on christmas day, and then just go away for the rest of the year, so we can have a white christmas, but none of the true inconvenience severe weather really brings. this wind, so far, it's ok, it hasn't knocked down any branches, or damaged a car. it's just out there pressing me as i walk. i have the park to myself - except for the bicycle, of course - not a soul out there, even on the busy street. quiet as a college town without the students, i like to say. because, that's what it is.

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