Wednesday, April 30, 2008

...a Passing Thought

I spent the day making final arrangements for my reading in Jackson.

It occurred to me that my life has always been a DIY project.

Robert Mugabe Meets T.S. Eliot



O mother / What shall I cry? / We demand a committee, a representative committee, a committee of investigation / RESIGN RESIGN RESIGN

−T.S. Eliot, Difficulties of a Statesman, from Coriolan



There's an interesting op ed piece in this morning's New York Times.

Here's a link.

A Moment with Annie Dillard


Annie Dillard was born on April 30, 1945. Since it's her birthday, I thought we might spend a moment with her this morning. This is from her essay "Living Like Weasels," which can be found in The Annie Dillard Reader (HarperPerennial, 1995), a book which (along with her The Writing Life), belongs in your library.

She writes:

I would like to learn, or remember, how to live. I come to Hollins Pond not so much to learn how to live as, frankly, to forget about it. That is, I don't think I can learn from a wild animal how to live in particular--shall I suck warm blood, hold my tail high, walk with my footprints precisely over the prints of my hands?--but I might learn something of mindlessness, something of the purity of living in the physical sense and the dignity of living without bias or motive. The weasel lives in necessity and we live in choice, hating necessity and dying at the last ignobly in its talons. I would like to live as I should, as the weasel lives as he should. And I suspect that for me the way is like the weasel's: open to time and death painlessly, noticing everything, remembering nothing, choosing the given with a fierce and pointed will.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Happy Birthday, Yusef Komunyakaa



Happy Birthday to Yusef Komunyakaa, born on April 29, 1947, in Bogalusa, Louisiana. Komunyakaa, the author of many books of poetry, received the 1994 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems, the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, also for Neon Vernacular, and the 2001 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, among many other awards.

Here's a poem from Magic City (Wesleyan University Press, 1992):

MY FATHER'S LOVE LETTERS

On Fridays he'd open a can of Jax
After coming home from the mill,
& ask me to write a letter to my mother
Who sent postcards of desert flowers
Taller than men. He would beg,
Promising to never beat her
Again. Somehow I was happy
She had gone, & sometimes wanted
To slip in a reminder, how Mary Lou
Williams' "Polka Dots & Moonbeams"
Never made the swelling go down.
His carpenter's apron always bulged
With old nails, a claw hammer
Looped at his side & extension cords
Coiled around his feet.
Words rolled from under the pressure
Of my ballpoint: Love,
Baby, Honey, Please.
We sat in the quiet brutality
Of voltage meters & pipe threaders,
Lost between sentences . . .
The gleam of a five-pound wedge
On the concrete floor
Pulled a sunset
Through the doorway of his toolshed.
I wondered if she laughed
& held them over a gas burner.
My father could only sign
His name, but he'd look at blueprints
& say how many bricks
Formed each wall. This man,
Who stole roses & hyacinth
For his yard, would stand there
With eyes closed & fists balled,
Laboring over a simple word, almost
Redeemed by what he tried to say.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Congratulations!

Go congratulate Leslie.

She has big, big news!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

On Peter Matthiessen


There is a review in today's New York Times Book Review* of Shadow Country: A New Rendering of the Watson Legend (The Modern Library, 2008) by Peter Matthiessen. The book is a collected (and somewhat condensed) retelling of Matthiessen's three novels about Florida's outlaw swamp baron Edgar J. Watson (Killing Mr. Watson, Lost Man's River and Bone by Bone).

I met Matthiessen in Key West one afternoon in the mid-1990's--it might have been '96 or '97. He was waiting to be seated at an outdoor bar/restaurant with the writers David James Duncan and Randy Wayne White. I recognized Duncan and Matthiessen--I think White was a little hurt that I did not recognize him, too--and invited them to join us at our table--it was just Marcia and me with several extra chairs.**

I had read my way through Matthiessen from his early novel Raditzer to Men's Lives, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, and Killing Mr. Watson, and had several of his books with me on that trip, though none with me at the bar when we met.


What was it like to meet one of my early literary heroes? It was an interesting afternoon. David James Duncan was--and is--a good man, Randy Wayne White regaled us with fishing stories, and I've never read another book by Peter Matthiessen.

_____________________________

*"A History of Violence: Peter Matthiessen revisits his fictional account of the brutal plantation owner Edgar J. Watson" by Tom LeClair, The New York Times Book Review, April 27, 2008, p. 19.

**Marcia has just reminded me that there was a woman with Matthiessen's group--one of the Hemingway cousins.

A Few Minutes with Theodore Roethke




I am a poet: I am always hungry.

&

There are so many ways of going to pot as a poet; so many
pitfalls, so many snares and delusions.

&

I used to think of poets as helping one another; as advancing
consciousness together.

&

"You try to tell us in shorthand; we don't even know longhand."
Swallow or strangle is my method.

&

O the enormous folly of words.

&

Move over, sensitive sad minds.

&

Live in a perpetual great astonishment.

-Theodore Roethke, "The Poet's Business: Selected Notebook Entries (1943-1947)" in On Poetry & Craft (Copper Canyon Press, 2001), p. 85.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Few More



Poet's House



In the Wood Lot



Carlos!

Studying the Instructions for My New Toy



This is my new toy. I'll use it to post my own photographs to S@4A.M., making the content, I hope, a bit more interesting. That is, if I can figure out how to use the camera. As I write, we are all at the Spring Lake Library. The boys and Marcia are pulling likely books off the shelves, I am puzzling through the instructions for the Fujifilm FinePix S700.

Carlos is very frustrated with me because he wants to use the camera, and yes, he knew how to use it before it came out of the box.

My children are way too smart.

ONE HOUR LATER:



TWO HOURS LATER, WAITING FOR HOT DOGS AT G&L:

Friday, April 25, 2008

On August Kleinzahler


I never did understand the point of savaging Garrison Keillor (well, other than self-aggrandizement), but after reading this article, I do want to read August Kleinzahler's new book.

Here's a link.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

On Theodore Roethke


The great thing about [Theodore Roethke] was that he knew how to make a good poem out of a bad poem. I like to think that he taught me to do this too. I'm not interested in that sort of perfect Iowa Workshop poem, in which everything eccentric or outrageous has been ironed out: one of those neat little poems that is disposable like Kleenex: you read it once (though you may not finish it) and think, "Very nice," and then you never think about it again. But I can take a great, big, messy, ambitious poem and find its form, and help to shape it up. Ted said many useful things about that kind of poem. One of them was to think of a poem as a three-act play, where you move from one impulse to the next, and then there is a final breath, which is the summation of the action of the whole. He had picked up that wonderful phrase from Sir John Davies which he used in a poem: "She taught me to turn, and counter-turn, and stand." Which is the essence of dramatic structure. It's what a long poem has to do. It doesn't require physical action, but there has to be some mental or emotional action that carries through in the poem.

-Carolyn Kizer, Foreword, On Poetry & Craft by Theodore Roethke (Copper Canyon Press, 2001)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pain

We spent the weekend raking old dead leaves from our huge, vastly treed yard.

Now I can hardly drag myself around.

We still have about 1/3 of the yard to go.

Writing-wise, I was able to get some publicity information in the mail for an upcoming reading.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Harvard is Calling!


Our Assistant County Administrator and my BFF, Erika Rosebrook, was just accepted in the Masters in Public Administration Program at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. She starts in July.

This is wonderful--for Erika, Harvard, and the world at large--but it's sad news around here.

Back to my vow of silence, I guess.

Earthquake



I was working at my computer this morning and felt the house and my desk shrug a bit, just shifting slightly, as if a large truck had driven by. It turns out that there was an 5.4* earthquake in Indiana (centered very near West Salem, Illinois) which was felt as far north as, well, my house.



No, that's not my house. The photo is from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Looks like one of my dogs on the right, though.

___________________________

*NOTE: Later reports put it at 5.2 on the Richter scale.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

We Don't Need no Stinkin' Instructions!


I spent most of last night working on a poster for a reading. I had always done "cut and paste" posters for events, but this time decided to try the iWorks "Pages" pre-formatted templates. No, I did not read the instructions––just bumbled my way through–– and the results were not too bad.

We are breathing a sigh of relief in Tigerland, as the warmer weather has finally unleashed all those expensive Detroit bats. Last night the Tigers beat the Cleveland Indians, 13-2. Yes, that's three wins in a row.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Semester Winds Down...

I have three more sessions with my composition class, but only one more (today!) during which I have to really get up and dance.

Then, grading final papers.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Thought for the Day



In his belief that a profound and passionate inner life was a prerequisite to composition, Yeats made his famous distinction between rhetoric and poetry: rhetoric comes from the quarrel with others (and looks outward to that audience as it shapes it sentences), but poetry issues forth from the self's quarrel with itself, which the poem exists to express (and sometimes to resolve). Expression, however, depends entirely upon the adequacy of the poet's technique: about that Yeats was very clear. In addressing technique he emphasized, in his maturity, three necessary qualities: that the poet's sentences should sound like speech, that words must be put in their "natural order," and that an emotional unity should connect the parts of a work of art. "I always try for the most natural order possible, largely to make thought which being poetical always is difficult to modern people as plain as I can."...The lack of one or more of these qualities was what he generally criticized in the work of others.

-Helen Vendler, Our Secret Discipline: Yeats and Lyric Form, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007) p. 1

Bad Movie, Good Book, Slumming Writer



Sunday, the mother of one of our sons' friends called and wanted the boys to come over to play for a couple of hours. We hadn't planned on this and thought it might be an opportunity to drop the boys off and see a movie. The only film starting when we arrived at the Multiplex was Never Back Down, one we knew nothing about, but how bad could it be?

It turned out that the film was about beautiful, 20-something "high school students" repeatedly beating each other to a pulp at "parties" held at their parents' multimillion dollar homes in Orlando. Don't ask us how it ends (though one assumes that the hero won the final "beatdown" or whatever it was called). We walked out, something we haven't done since the second reel of Carlito's Way in 1993.

The sole redeeming scene was one in which a high school teacher tried to teach his "students" about the Iliad, using the Robert Fagles translation. There was an interesting in-class reference to the shield of Achilles, and how the bronzework on the shield (domestic and agricultural scenes of ancient Greece) offered an alternative view of what life could be like in the absence of warfare.

Somewhere, a once-promising classics student managed to cash his check.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ann Arbor Book Festival



I will be appearing at the Ann Arbor Book Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Friday, May 16, where I will be giving a talk on "Revising the Poem."

I will also be signing books, etc.

I went to the University of Michigan Law School and am very much looking forward to going back to beautiful Ann Arbor for this event.

Hope you can be there!

Details to follow.

In Other News...


This is Phobos, the larger of the two moons that orbit Mars.

This looks like the sort of moon that I would design.

Phobos (according to Wikipedia) "is the embodiment of fear and horror in Greek mythology. He is the offspring of Ares and Aphrodite. He was known for accompanying Ares into battle along with his brother, Deimos,* the goddess Enyo, and his father’s attendants. Timor is his Roman equivalent."

As in that famous poetic line:

"Timor mortis conturbat me."

But lumpy little Phobos doesn't look like he could strike terror into anyone.


_____________________________

* The name, BTW, of the second, smaller moon orbiting Mars.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Reading!


I will be reading at the downtown (Carnegie) building of the Jackson District Library in Jackson, Michigan, on Thursday, May 1 at 6:30 P.M.

Jackson is where I grew up and the Constant Reader will know that I am very excited about this event.

More later.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Pulitzer Prizes

Congratulations to the winners of this year's Pulitzer Prize(s) in Poetry:

Robert Hass for Time and Materials (Ecco/HarperCollins)

and

Philip Schultz for Failure (Harcourt)

I haven't read Schultz's book yet; I'll have to order it.

Among the contenders and winners, particular congratulations to Denis Johnson, whose Tree of Smoke (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) was a Finalist in Fiction, and to Alex Ross, whose The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) was a Finalist for the Prize in General Nonfiction.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Thought for the Day




A man's steps are directed by the Lord.
How then can anyone understand his own way?

-Proverbs 20:24

___________________________

The photograph is "Les Escaliers de Montmartre, Paris" (1936)
by Brassai

Additions to the Blogroll

Please welcome to the blogroll at S@4A.M.:

Indiana Jesus
IUSB Creative Writing
Naoko Fujimoto
Neil Kelly
Rachel Custer
Chad Forbregd
Sally Smits
Cindy Hunter Morgan
Justin Evans
Psychoflowers

and

Zach Aument

If you are blogging and would like to be on the S@4A.M. blogroll (Yeah, like THAT'S a big honor!) let me know and I will be happy to add you.

I want to give you all the love you deserve, blogroll-wise.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Another Heade Poem


Excerpt from an Unsent Letter
to Mrs. Laura Webb, Regarding
Ruby Throat of North America (1865)


-From the American Artist Martin Johnson Heade,
London, July 7, 1865

Thus, my project winds to a failed close.
The stones with which I proposed to lithograph
the brilliant colors of the Brazilian hummers
will not hold the various inks––cannot fairly represent
the vibrant blues, the fire-struck greens, etc.,
of the birds I painted during my sojourn in Brazil.
Each day I began in fresh hope, walking
along the Thames toward the printers.
Each afternoon, atop the press or inspecting proofs,
I grew more despondent by the hour.
I returned at dusk to my studio in Kensington,
decanted a glass of claret, and, sketching,
working on through the course of a fortnight,
have painted a pair of North American ruby throats;
the hummingbirds you would have known as a child.
The female, a delicate green, with pale underbelly,
is perched upon the branch of a blooming apple tree,
the petals below bursting into variable pinks.
Above her, and on the branch where she rests, the stems
are just coming into bud. The male, slightly elevated
on the right, watches her; his throat, his thorax,
that wild rubious red, his back and wings,
a vibrant green, a color remembered in the leaves
of the apple tree, suggested again in the mix of blue
sky and the yellowish-gold of the clouds.
The hills are rounded––I mean them to speak
of Vermont or upstate New York––
of America, in any event.
The nest is empty and the birds’ situation––
the green hills, the leaves of the apple tree,
the empty nest and the vibrant pink blooms,
the near-buds––speak to a new beginning.
Dare one say, a new love.

Across the great Atlantic, separated
as we are by your marriage, by convention
and the expectations of our times, made bold,
perhaps, by this wine, I have a confession.
During my stay at Petropolis, there,
at the summer house kept by your husband
in the mountains above Rio, you encouraged me
to visit without invitation, to depart from
the formalities of American life, in the fashion
of that place. And so, I would come to your home
unannounced, joining you for breakfast, or for tea
in the late afternoons. One morning, I circled
to the garden, and found you without servants,
bathing in the pool formed by the mountain stream.
You did not see or hear me; of this I am certain.
Laura, I am a painter, and seeing your lovely form:
your dark hair let down, your breasts, your sex
as you left that pool; the music–– of water as it spilled over
the slight dam of the rocks, even, I imagined, of
your breathing––or was it the quiet humming of a song
as you dried yourself and reached for your robe?––
I did not look away. I have thought of this often;
am artist enough to contemplate the subject
fortune presented to me, gentleman enough to blush
as I write this, as the male ruby’s throat blushes,
in the painting I will post, before leaving this place.

An Interview



I spent the early part of today getting all of my documents transferred onto my new computer. I found this--a "self interview" which appears, in a slightly different form, on the University of Arkansas Press website––and thought it might be of interest.

Q.: The title of your new book is Figured Dark. Is the book about darkness? If so, aren’t you worried that this is a topic—a metaphor, if you will––that has been overdone in contemporary American poetry?

A.: Yes, the book is about darkness. At least, that word is in its title, many of the poems are literally set at dusk, at night, in the hours just before dawn. I confess to being something of an insomniac. And yes, the word “dark” is one that has been asked to pull a lot of freight in the poetry world. But no, I don’t think the trope is in any sense dead. At least, in poems like the title poem, “Elegy for Light and Balance,” “Near Gatlinburg,” and “In the Great Field at Mount Holyoke, Under a Dome of Stars” I have tried to make it new.

The book has as its epigraph a line from the Irish writer, Elizabeth Bowen: “Only the dispossessed know their land in the dark.” And I suppose the underlying subject of the book is how the dispossessed––read “the poet” if you like––finds a place in the world.

Q.: What do you mean, “dispossessed”?

A.: I mean that in several connotations. Physically disposessed from house and home, isolated from a larger social community, from family, isolated from an artistic community. Also isolated from a spiritual tradition, from God himself, I suppose.

Q.: Are you saying that you are isolated in these ways? That you are “among the dispossessed” to borrow a phrase?

A.: Well, I am at least saying that this is what the book is about. I don’t want to make extravagant claims for myself. But as an Irish Catholic American––I am Irish in everything but my surname, which turns out to be New Amsterdam Dutch––I do find myself isolated from my upbringing. I’ve been divorced and remarried. I have turned away rather dramatically from my original career in the law. I still work as an attorney in local government, but have ceased being ambitious, if that is the right word––for money, for economic status, for recognition as a trial attorney––a career I pursued with some success before the bottom dropped out.

I live in a small town in western Michigan. To tell that community, “I’m not going to pursue the things that you find important anymore, I am going to chuck all that and be a poet,” that was a very isolating step. And it’s not like there was a community of artists here waiting to welcome me with open arms. I lead a very small life. I must seem somewhat furtive to the local folk––a figure moving in the dark. But there we go with the title again.

Q.: Other poets––famous ones at that––have roles in your new book. John Donne appears in “Glaucoma,” Elizabeth Bishop, Randall Jarell, and Delmore Schwartz, among others, appear in a poem set at New York’s famed Gotham Book Mart, and there is that long, strange poem about John Berryman,“Archie Babcock Explains the Accident to John Berryman’s Biographer.”

A.: That’s a true story. It happened in 1939, just outside of Indian River, a town close to the tip of Michigan’s lower peninsula, where my family owned and operated a small restaurant. I didn’t know Archie and Gordon Babcock, of course, but some of their relatives worked for my father and I knew the family. I also know the landscape, and I hope that comes across in the poem. There really are places up there––or were, anyway, even in the 1960’s––where one could get intentionally lost. I don’t think John Berryman ever did collect anything for his brother’s injuries.

Q.: What role does landscape have in your work? Are you a “Michigan poet”? Do you consider yourself a Midwestern writer?

A.: Well, yes. I am a poet who happens to live in the Upper Great Lakes, specifically Michigan and being labeled a “Midwestern Poet” does not trouble me. I mean, it is a great tradition. Being in the lineage of poets as diverse as Edgar Lee Masters and Lorraine Niedecker through to Theodore Roethke, Judith Minty and Jim Harrison is certainly an honorable place to be. Many of my poems are set where I live, and you will find a lot of cedar trees, pines, trout streams and blueberry fields in my poems, because that is the country I write from. But I have also made an attempt to set my poems in a number of American landscapes: the Oregon Coast, the Carolina mountains, New York, western Massachusetts, places I sometimes go to write.

Whatever the setting, to the extent that place is important in my work, I hope that it has been sufficiently realized in the poems. That’s largely a matter of detail, I think. Knowing the names of birds, of plant life. Actually knowing your way around in the woods. Not letting the cries of animals throw you off.

I don’t think that the book will appeal only to Midwestern readers. I think it will have a larger appeal. The poems are, I hope, the story of a spiritual journey that is informed by landscape, not limited by it.

Q.: Your second book, A Path Between Houses (University of Wisconsin Press, 2000) won the Brittingham Prize. This new book is coming out seven years later. What took you so long?

A.: You’re right. These days, seven years does seem like a long time between books. A Path Between Houses was actually my thesis manuscript for the low-residency MFA Program at Warren Wilson College. I graduated from there in January, 2000, and before the end of the month, found out that Alicia Ostriker had picked my manuscript for the Brittingham Prize. At no point, however, did I think, “Well, this just proves how easy it will be.” No, I knew I was incredibly fortunate.

I’ve been writing along since then. And publishing individual poems here and there. Almost everything in Figured Dark has appeared in a journal somewhere. I’ve also done a couple of chapbooks.

The manuscript for Figured Dark, under several names, was a finalist in a number of contests, and was even the runner up in several, including the Dorset Prize. But I have continued to rework the text––adding poems, deleting, rewriting and revising.

This is a somewhat different book than my earlier manuscript. I am happy that this is coming out in its current form. This represent the best work I can do right now; or at least, it is my best effort. Everything I have to give is on the page. I am very fortunate to have worked with Enid Shomer and everyone at The University of Arkansas Press through the final stages of this book. I can’t think of a place I would rather be.

-Greg Rappleye

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Lebowski is my Life Coach


My plan was to wake up early and throw myself into a new project. It didn't work out. I woke up at four, snapped on my computer, clicked on MSNBC, and found that--Hooray!--we had survived another night of the Bush Administration. I took the dogs for a ramble through the yard, and went back to bed.

I finally got up at 9:30, doddered around for a couple of hours and went to the post office. There were three contributor's copies of Prairie Schooner in the box, so I felt like a writer. It was time to celebrate, of course, but a true poet does not rest on his laurels. I cruised over to the discount shoe store and bought a pair of flip flops. I turned on the Tigers at 3:30 and made a pot of spaghetti sauce. The spaghetti was good though the Tigers lost to the White Sox, 8-5.

I spent about an hour after dinner shelving books and rearranging papers on my desk.

I am ready.

Tomorrow I will work like Rilke, but today I am living like the Dude.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Bad Idea of the Week

Why don't these revolutionary, cost-cutting plans ever involve selling the publisher's beach house in the Hamptons?

Or at least, giving the writers a weekend in the guest house, pool privileges and a basket of skin care products?

Read all about it in today's New York Times .

Question: Whose accountant decides what "costs" are and what "profits" are?

Clue: Salaries at a publishing house are "costs."

Ask anyone who has ever written for Hollywood with a promise of "points on the back end" whether this is a potential problem.

In the immortal words of Stevie "Guitar" Miller, "Take the money and run."

Not that this matters much to poets.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Guggenheim Fellows

Congratulations to Vyvyanne Loh, Lan Samantha Chang and Bob Hicok on their 2008 Guggenheim Fellowships.

A complete list of the new Fellows is on the Foundation website, here.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Future Arrives in a Box, During the Lunch Hour



Carlos has half-days this week so I had to pick him up at school yesterday at 11:30. As luck would have it, the Federal Express guy also stopped by the house during the lunch hour and delivered my new iMac. I spent most of last night getting everything set up to my liking. So far, I am liking very much.



Note: It will surprise no one to learn that I am not the most computer literate of bloggers. Most of the technical stuff is beyond me. In fact, the less I have to know, the better.

First Impressions: The aluminum 24" iMac is fast, quiet, elegant, and brilliantly designed. The set-up process was a breeze; the only glitch was figuring out the location of the serial number for the pre-installed iWorks program--I had it (on the disc envelope, of course), but needed 10 minutes to figure out where it was. I am a bit surprised by how much I like the new wireless keyboard, which no longer has a keypad for data entry, a feature I've never used anyway. The new keyboard is about the size of a birthday card, but they've spaced the keys so you don't actually feel like you're typing on a miniature laptop. The smaller size opens up a lot of room on my desk, so I have the benefit of a much larger screen for my problematic eyes and yet a reduced computer "footprint."

For a writer, I'd say that's close to perfect.

In other good news, it seems that the Leopard operating system (or is it iWorks doing this? I dunno) spell checks automatically in Blogger, so fewer spelling mistakes, I hope.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A Moment with Jim Harrison



LOOKING FORWARD TO AGE

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.