Me, of Late

Well… picture me heaving a huge sigh. I would say “throwing my hands up in resignation,” but that’s such a cliched phrase, and also I don’t actually do that. But I do sigh a lot.

Instead of being productive and getting all that stuff done that I would love to do if I felt motivated, I’ve mostly been:

drinking too much coffee;

sleeping in an extra hour or two;

watching too much Netflix, youtube, etc.;

spending too much on food;

crying;

making messes.

I’ve been reading, but not writing, and, more than anything else, wondering when I’ll have enough time and/or energy to start doing the things I really want to do in life. Like learning guitar and studying languages. Applying for writers’ residencies (they have them for unpublished writers, right?). Figuring out how all the features of my camera work. It’s not even a fancy camera, it’s just a basic digital one, but for some reason it’s not functioning as it claimed it would.

I know I should start with the “spring cleaning” purge of all the stuff that’s collected over the past year or so that I have been intending to throw away or give away or sell. I want to sell some things because I need money, but I think that might be more trouble than it’s worth, since I don’t really own anything valuable.

I wrote a poem last night, but it’s rather private and I don’t want to share it. But at least I did write something.¬†Better than nothing at all. Or… that’s what they say, although really it’s almost as if I wrote nothing at all.

Do you ever wonder why you love the thing you love but then you never feel like doing it?

Advertisements

Lately I Can’t

Sit up straight

or

Concentrate on reading

or

Keep all my produce from going bad

or

Keep up with people

or

Save money

or

Tolerate the cat

or

Tolerate loud people

or

Care about the Red Sox (sorry [not])

or

Fall asleep before midnight

or

Wake up early on weekends

or

Work up the energy and confidence to wear heels

or

Write anything worthwhile

or

Find the time for passion

or

Stop thinking about cookies and pie.

 

National Grilled Cheese Poetry Month

It’s National Poetry Month! Write a poem! It’s also National Grilled Cheese Month. (and I guess today is grilled cheese DAY. But really, whichever day you eat it is grilled cheese day.) I think the conclusion we are supposed to make here is that grilled cheese is poetry. (Because it would be weird to say that poems are grilled cheese.) I feel like it’s my responsibility to eat a grilled cheese sandwich at some point this month.

I figured I would try to write at least one poem this month, even though I’m not really that into writing poems. I guess some people might define the flash pieces as prose poetry, but that’s not how I think of them. And that’s what matters.

So right now I’m going to write a poem about grilled cheese. You’re welcome.

 

Anything

can go on your grilled cheese.

There are rules, of course

Bread. Cheese. Grill.

But after that your sandwich will go wherever

your imagination takes it.

I like apple and brie, personally

Can it still count as grilled cheese

if it’s made on a panini press?

I think so.

It’s my sandwich, not yours

so I’ll call it whatever I want.

 

The last time I tried

to make grilled cheese,

I burned it.

And the bread didn’t line up right.

It wasn’t really very good.

And I wondered,

what’s so great about grilled cheese anyway?

But sometimes that’s just how it happens.

It can be something of a “task”

to get it right.

Isn’t it worth it, though?

The melty in your mouth, buttery

(maybe bacony)

flavor.

The crunch and the warmth.

Eat slowly. I always find

that my food is gone and

I’ve barely had a chance

to taste it.

 

Bittersweet

I was looking through very old journal and found some poems I wrote many years ago. This one is from the summer of 2004, with new edits from today. 

 

 

Let me be weightless

falling away from myself,

and step across

the weeping arms of willows.

The ocean is bittersweet;

I’ll swim the depths in search of me.

 

The fullest moon,

smooth as a field of clay,

disguises the sharpest thorns

My skin is cracking

full of red rust.

I am

a drawing of sand

dispersing into the wind.

 

The petals of forget-me-nots die

to be forgotten.

Currently Reading: Pale Fire

I am in the middle of a very interesting book by Vladimir Nabokov. I am a little bit annoyed with myself because, for the past few days, I’ve been watching episodes of The Big Bang Theory online instead of using most of my time to read and write, which had been my intention before finding all the tv show links. However… what can you do?

 

At the moment, in lieu of actually reading, I am writing this post – but I’ve been putting that off for at least a day and a half. I think that means I’m ceasing to procrastinate in one regard in order to procrastinate on something else. As long as I’m procrastinating somehow, it’s okay. Can you imagine if I just had everything done? Of course, that isn’t possible, because new ideas for writing come to me frequently. Some will never turn into a piece that was written down, but I the point is that I always have something else to create. Which means I’ll never be finished. It’s lucky, though, in one sense – since I intend to write for my whole life, I never have to worry about retirement!

But I am digressing most flagrantly. This post is meant to put down some of my thoughts on Pale Fire. I will now move on to my original purpose…

If you’re unfamiliar with the work, it is a story written in this form: a poem by John Shade, with an introduction and commentary on particular lines by Charles Kinbote. Let me make this absolutely clear: The entire book, introduction through commentary, and I believe all the way through the index, is Nabokov’s novel. John Shade is a character, and Kinbote is a character. Kinbote is the protagonist. The annoying, ridiculous protagonist.

The commentary is amusing because of its somewhat unpredictable inconsistency. A few of the notes do seem to be attempts to elucidate the meaning of the poem, while others, apparently, are platforms for free association. In my reading, it seems that the notes that go on for pages about the King of Zembla is Kinbote’s own writing, which he has decided should be published and therefore sticks in the commentary anywhere he can.

The most interesting thing about it, I think, is the presence of at least three stories. One story is told by the poem, and gives us a sometimes hazy picture. It is Shade’s voice, and the only chance we have to see Shade from any POV other than Kinbote’s. Then there is the story Kinbote tells, centering on his friendship with Shade – which to me seems overstated, wishful. He writes as if he believes that Shade loves him, a man he only knew in the last year(s?) of his life, and his wife, Sybil, controls him like a captive lapdog.

The third story is about the history of Zembla, particularly the one king who ran away and was then hunted by a man who was supposed to kill him. It clearly has nothing to do with the poem, but Kinbote’s notes make it apparent that he thinks his stories about Zembla were the intended subject of the poem. The poem, in fact, was an autobiographical work from Shade -unlikely to connect to Zemblan kings in any way- and the biggest clue that Charles Kinbote is, to some degree, deluded.

I do recommend this book, but not to everyone. I don’t think it would appeal to general taste. If you decide to read it, I would suggest this: don’t read it as Kinbote suggests at the end of his introduction. Just read the poem, and then the commentary, referring to the poem only when you decide you want a refresher on what that particular line actually said.