Everything you need to know about love can be found in a canoe…
|May 4, 2013|
Maybe the reason Michael recites poetry whenever we are in the natural world, rather than, say, when doing the dishes or taking out the trash, is to attempt to narrate, to hold within the bounds of language, a kind of beauty, joy, fear that we will never completely understand. Much like love itself. Lines of poetry, image and metaphor, frame the encounter, just for a moment, pins down what shifts and changes before our eyes. The mountains, the woods, the rivers, never fully known, yet familiar in the ways they call to us, are caught in image. Suppose your father was a red bird, Pattiann Rogers asks. Suppose that before you knew how to speak you knew the “slow spread of his wing.” Then, the poet continues,
Then you would be obligated to try to understand
What it is you recognize in the sun
As you study it again this evening
Pulling itself and the sky in dark red
Over the edge of the earth.
Language fails us in both love and beauty; yet it’s all we have.
I don’t think it is happenstance that Michael and I fell in love under the flap of a heron’s wings. On a river, there is nowhere to go, nothing to do, no one to be. Everything you need to know about love, the fierce ties that bind us as well as the branches that will take you down, can be found in a canoe.
The four of us stood on the banks of the Little Bear under a sunless sky. Wind whipped against our wet bodies. Michael had lost his glasses and couldn’t see. The canoe and everything with it was gone.
“It doesn’t matter what we lost,” Kellen said, the first words any of us spoke, uttered as he watched his favorite hat and green water bottle sail down the river. “The important thing is that we all survived.”
And that was, of course, true. It’s indeed what I felt standing on the bank, the four of us holding onto one another, the boys without shoes, Michael unable to see, water streaming from our clothes. We had made it.
Merleau-Ponty’s Child Psychology
As much as death signals the end of the self, birth is just as mysterious. Both extend out to infinity and signal the brevity and contingency of our lives. As mysterious are those first few years of life that one does not have access to as an adult, I know I existed before my earliest memories. I know I interacted with others, I learned to walk and talk. I was willful from my parent’s tales.
William Pope.L: Reader Friendly
William Pope.L is famous for (among other things) carrying a business card that identifies him as “The Friendliest Black Artist in America.” It’s a clever gag because it makes itself true, in a way, every time it draws people closer. The card must be especially useful when Pope.L does business with people who dread Black men or Black artists.
10 Things the NSA Has Seen Me Do
One winter in my early twenties myself and some good friends — a merging of art, music and literary ladies of New York, full-grown girls aspiring to be women — got together, had a lovely dinner, some wine and delightful chat. Then we decided to spend an hour practicing “Teach Me How To Dougie”. NSA — can you teach me how to Dougie? You know why? “Because all my bitches love me.”
You may also like :
On the subject of death I’m inclined to turn to my two favourite writers. Vladimir Nabokov begins Speak Memory, an autobiography of sorts, with the kind of banality any reader of his knows better than to get cosy with: ‘The cradle rocks above an abyss and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.’ Given how much respect he had for common sense we shouldn’t be anything but wary.
Though Aldous Huxley is primarily remembered for his novels and to a lesser extent his essays, he began his writing career as a poet. While a student at Balliol College at Oxford, having been exempted from military service due to extremely poor eyesight, he was involved in several student poetry magazines. In September 1916 his first book of poetry, The Burning Wheel, appeared.
he invited me to the village Kout-chouk-Koy where he had a tiny strip of land and a white, two-storied house. There, while showing me his "estate," he began to speak with animation: "If I had plenty of money, I should build a sanatorium here for invalid village teachers. You know, I would put up a large, bright building—very bright, with large windows and lofty rooms. I would have a fine library, different musical instruments, bees, a vegetable garden, an orchard. . . . There would be lectures on agriculture, mythology. . . . Teachers ought to know everything, everything, my dear fellow."