Slowest start yet: not to the day, for
Sadie’s a dread and reliable
alarm clock, but to this writing,
what with the farmers market this
morning, then being in charge
of parenting while Emily has things to do
until around 3, and then we’re going
to dinner with friends in half-an-hour
and tonight’s devoted to D&D—yes,
still pretending to be an elf or a sorcerer
after all these years. But the colonization
of my imagination by Tolkien and Gygax and
their epigones is a meditation for another day.
One false start later, and with no novel-
writing in prospect, I’m here
in what I’m pleased to call my office
in this run-down rental on Pleasant St.
watching rain drip from the gutters
before the high wall of bushes that separates
us from our neighbor, the aforementioned
Elmer, afflicted by his loneliness and crabbed
speech: was it yesterday
passing with Sadie that he stopped us
to tell me that his own daughter had died of cancer
when she was 57? Incalculably old,
with white stubble and thick-framed glasses,
filthy white jeans (memory of white), red
flannel lumberjack shirt in cold weather, white
(memory of) wifebeater when it’s hot.
Before I can round this anecdote off
Sadie comes in to where I’m typing with
a Curious George jack-in-the-box someone
gave us demanding back back by which she means
put George back into his place so she can pop
him out again: she won’t get tired of this and
I’m feeling a little guilty for the moments
I’m typing while she’s crying, just a little,
perfecting entreaty: it’s probably
good for her to know her every whim
won’t be attended to immediately
(a quarter past immediately)
but now she’s lost interest and skated off
to find her mother and her mother’s friend Amy
chatting about knitting in the bedroom.
Emily works hard to protect
my time to write but I haven’t worked
as hard to protect her time
to write, sing, dream, what have you:
I was asked recently what kind of family
I want and said without having to think about it
A family of artists, and that’s true: what
that must mean is that art and life must lose
distinction, in the style of an avant-garde:
more seriously, that making a family is
part of making art, that for me to be an artist
Emily and Sadie must be artists too: I
love this idea though I haven’t thought it through:
the demands upon me could be large
and I’ve had things pretty simple up to now.
Daddy Daddy Sadie says to Amy and Amy says,
Is he typing? Yes he is, but he’s got to stop,
it’s dinnertime and after that
my comrades and I have a dungeon to raid
and liberate from its subterranean evil:
D&D is like any adventure story but void
of allegory, unlike I suppose life as we
know it. It’s not a real rain.
Tomorrow my parents are coming and
it will be even more difficult to find corners
to write in, unoccupied times
in which to hide and confront
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