June 22nd, 2002

abstract butterfly

Saturday, between novels, at work

I sit in my office,
as do two hundred lawyers
in fifty buildings
in ten suburbs
in my city.

It's a day when the sun
shines down on the just at play
while the unjust sit
in their offices,
drafting documents
to be used to construct
dark, tall buildings
with high tech security systems,
spring flowers trucked in each Monday
placed beautifully in pots, and then
discarded on Friday, their job done.

I will achieve many things,
and in a way wonderful things,
given time, grace, and
a functioning printer,
but for now
I use a search engine
to look up the lyrics to
a song by a band
I don't particularly like,
and try to muddle out
how the words to
"She Sells Sanctuary"
fit the melody in my head.

Outside, men burnish my office building
with water, readying it for
years of additional work.

Someday soon I will have something to read,
and a bright idea,
and song in my heart that is not
about sanctuary,
but now I have billing to do.
  • Current Music
    The Cult, "She Sells Sanctuary"

walk past Spring

I spent most of today at work, doing needful things. During lunch, I went to the local "Lucky" Chinese buffet. The huge aquarium near the entrance, where the two arowanas usually swim in solitude, was stocked with a slew of goldfish and very picturesque ghost shrimp. I am sad to report that I think the additions were in all likelihood food rather than friends for the arowana, which are huge, long fish that look like they are always about a dozen goldfish on a poor boy sandwich short of contentment.

On the way to lunch, I had gone to the local branch of the library to hunt a play of which someone recently reminded me. It was not at that branch, so I checked out three poetry books and a young adult novel. One of the poetry books was a complete collection of Edwin Arlington Robinson poems. Robinson intrigues me. His best known work is probably "Richard Cory" (who glittered when he walked, inspired the awe and envy of all around him, and then put a bullet in his own head).

Robinson wrote from the turn of the 20th Century up through the 1930s. He understood that much of the mock epic material generated by the Victorian poets was flummery, high flown valorous "stuff". He brought a deep cynicism to his work which gives it both a biting modernity and a strong sense of humour. But at heart, he was not so different from the Victorians he parodied. He wanted to write his own great Arthurian epic. He wanted to see a Divine Light, and to pursue a muse. I read several of his poems between bites of crispy duck, marvelling at how the short epigrammatic humorous poems were his best work, and yet the work he valued least. It's so often that way in any vocation, but particularly among writers who can write amusing stuff.

After work, I went to Vikon Village. Vikon Village is a huge Garland set of fleamarkety businesses under one roof. It's authentic--you can see the insulation overhead where the ceiling should be. A cockney stuffed parrot in a vending machine kept offering to give me a gift. The sword store could have stocked any 14th Century armory, but seemed out of place in Garland, Texas somehow. The "head shop" played speed metal rather than psychedelia, and the posters were A System of Down and Linkin Park rather than Yes and Uriah Heep, but there was still plenty of incense and Pink Floyd memorabilia. I wanted more black lights, though.

The cute gift shop featured not only poetry modeled upon the Bible on bookends with praying hands, but also an "adult toys" section. Art and Religion meet in the marketplace of cheap tawdry capitalism. I bought a 1 dollar and 99 cent flute from the Egyptian store with the belly dancing gear and the wiggy pharoah-like chess sets on boards that looked like mirrors on which beer commercials are embossed (but instead Egyptian looking god figures were placed). I bypassed the woman who read tarot behind gauzy curtains, as my work day already made me feel more Last Trumps and Death than the Wizard.

I found myself near the library at which the play I wanted was located, and found the play. The play was in non-fiction somehow, which is fine, because isn't all life drama anyway? Then after a Dollar General store stop (chief score: great bird seed for 2 dollars--grackle heaven!),
I headed home. My wife and I drove out to Trinity Trail to take a walk.

Spring had ended at the trail--virtually all the flowers had gone. The green grass was tall. Each stand of trees had a moist wonderfulness that you could taste and feel in your bones. Dragonflies flew at half-speed, sporting combinations of black and racing silver that made them gorgeous. Everything was Texas size--huge weeds, a giant buzzard, crows the size of flying cats. We turned around at a creek and headed back to our car. We saw a mimosa-type tree, already past bloom, with huge red nine inch long seed pods, little spirals in mid air. A cottontail rabbit ran directly toward us, and we soon saw the horse and rider from which he was running. We talked to the rider, to keep the horse calm, and headed back to our car, tired, but calm. On the radio, England Dan and John Ford Coley said that they had not realized it would be this way, "waiting and wondering about you", but we were ready for dinner.
  • Current Music
    "That's the Way I've Always Heard it Should be", Carly Simon