"Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there.
And the Drano won’t work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up
waiting for the plumber I still haven’t called. This is the everyday we spoke of.
It’s winter again: the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through
the open living-room windows because the heat’s on too high in here and I can’t turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, the bag breaking,
I’ve been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my wrist and sleeve,
I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.
Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called that yearning.
What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss — we want more and more and then more of it.
But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I’m gripped by a cherishing so deep
for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I’m speechless:
I am living. I remember you."
I took the A-train uptown to hear her sing,
she said I’d be safe going in with her
but man, the looks I got. And all around
everyone looking so fine and cool
and eyes flashing out of those dark
spaces, filled with things I’ll never know.
And when she sang, it was like the moon
melting down, white pearls and black satin
and a sudden silence that only she could bring.
~ Robert Mitchum’s poem about Sarah Vaughn
When I was a child I adored Robert Mitchum. A little boy’s man crush. Reading this, I see that he is still my kind of guy.
I learned to embrace recklessness
from watching falling leaves
getting caught in autumn downpours,
running swiftly down the gutters
ragged but racing, all riding the tides.
these days seem halcyon-touched,
but are only a golden warning
for a fade to broken brown
in its due and faithful time; as frost,
as frozen earth, as fresher green.
"You aren’t who I loved. You are how I loved."
"[I] became a woman who learned her own skin and dug into her soul and found it full."
Memories of sweat and dust. Long sunny summers. Haystacks and farm food. —ttt.