Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A Moment with Jim Harrison


I will walk down to a marina
on a hot day and not go out to sea.

I will go to bed and get up early,
and carry too much cash in my wallet.

On Memorial Day I will visit the graves
of all those who died in my novels.

If I have become famous I'll wear a green
janitor's suit and row a wooden boat.

From a key ring on my belt will hang
thirty-three keys that open no doors.

Perhaps I'll take all of my grandchildren
to Disneyland in a camper but probably not.

One day standing in a river with my fly rod
I'll have the courage to admit my life.

In a one room cabin at night I'll consign
photos, all tentative memories to the fire.

And you my loves, few as there have been, let's lie
and say it could never have been otherwise.

So that: we may glide off in peace, not howling
like orphans in this endless century of war.

-Jim Harrison


Note: The painting at the top is "Full Moon Rising" by Russell Chatham. One of his paintings is also on the cover of the book, which is the 1986 Winn Books edition. I have it here, somewhere.


Blogger Robert said...

Ages ago I went on a "double date" with Russell Chatham at Tommaso's in North Beach in San Francisco. He's quite a guy! Mostly I remember us all doing the finger-round-the-rim-of-the-wineglass thing to make a high-pitched whine that drove everyone else out of the restaurant.

2:33 PM  
Blogger greg rappleye said...

Robert:Yes, I love Chatham. I've spoken with him a few times at parties--hanging out with Dan Gerber and Jim Harrison, but not for many years.

2:46 PM  
Blogger Chad said...

This seems to be a very timely post -- i've just finished Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry (with Ted Kooser)and loved it...

8:08 AM  
Blogger Susan Och said...

Pam McGrath posted a nice account of Chatham's recent talke at the Dennos Museum in Traverse City. Her blog is Books in Northport.

9:42 PM  
Blogger TimZ said...

Harrison was in Chicago at a Barbara's Bookstore reading in the early 90s for, I believe, the "Julip" novellas, and I noticed that he had snuck in "The Theory and Practice of Rivers and Other Poems" with him under the "Julip" book. During the Q&A, which I've heard he's always abhored, everyone was asking him where he was going to eat and drink that night. My grandfather, a very simple but improbably brilliant man who chose to farm a small plot of land downstate (Burt, MI) instead of opting for more academic or lucrative pursuits, had just passed away. I asked Jim to read "Looking Forward to Age" in honor of him. He did, and when finished, looked at me and said, "And isn't that the way life really is, son?" I was an impressionable 23-year-old fresh out of grad school from Michigan Tech in Rhetoric, and couldn't have been more pleased.

11:29 PM  

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