Thursday, December 14, 2006


Sometimes I wonder if every poet has to deal with the rose as an archetype, at some point, if it will bloom from his/her fingers if not written out deliberately, or just cast a rosey aura over whatever's being written.

But I wonder a lot of things that clearly have no basis in fact.

One thing like that, that I've been wondering ever since I started spotting women who were dazzlingly gorgeous, in 6th grade or so, was "Why does she so clearly think I'm unattractive?" The "she" tends to be whatever beautiful lady is closest by, and there's always that assumption, automatically. Not, "hm, she's probably thinking about whatever she's reading on her laptop," but this sort of inverted-narcissistic "man, her looking away from me is a clear indication of her lack of interest."

This afternoon, sitting at the Artisan, this coffee shop in downtown Columbia with really tasty paninis and good atmosphere, I started getting a clear vision of a Batman poem that united a couple of chunks of narrative that have been orbiting and studding different poems for months now, and so wrote what I could think of on the flyleaf and the inside cover of Carl Phillips' new book, Riding Westward, partly because his absolute sense of certainty about the nuance of emotion and relationship helped me inject a little of the same into the fragmented camp narrative, but also because I didn't have any paper.

There was a girl sitting at the table facing me, with the kind of blond hair and white Mac that imply a clear, clean inner light, and the purse in her lips of a kiss, and I had decided that she thought I was weird because I was scribbling, hunched over the table, probably not breathing and maybe even unconsciously humming the Batman theme, and so I did the absolutely terrifying thing that's corollary to Carl Phillips' speaker merging the classical narrative with the one of modern desire, or, on a Batmanic level, Batman walking into a mad scientist's lair that he knows holds a relic owned by his father, one that was used to power a monster, and I asked, "Hey, can I have a piece of paper?" She said, with a slight nostril flare, and the laptop shining its iconizing light on her face, "Is notebook paper okay?" I said yes, and borrowed it, and have had a wonderful day ever since.

All of which is to say that I feel, at twenty-nine, like I'm getting a little objectivity. Thanks for helping me with that, you, person who may know me only as an extended, middle-school-ey ramble about girls. Have a marvellous holiday. I love you.


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