Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Today Khameni threatened full wrath of
his regime in a Friday prayer service, but
the people will I think come out tomorrow
anyway: everyone’s on point, riding the
inheld breath, wondering which 1989
Tehran 2009 will turn out to be: Berlin
or Tiannenmen. Off to one side
our own incomplete revolution: Obama’s
cautiousness threatens to embitter
the gays and lesbians at the core
of his coalition: time to wipe out
such antediluvian measures
as the Defense of Marriage Act and
don’t-ask-don’t-tell, the leaders are behind
the people on this one, as they are in Iran—
I’m sure Mousavi can’t quite believe
that he’s become the symbol of freedom, his face
limned in green and carried by masses
yearning to breathe free: let them unhuddle,
let them bloom. To my locality: the
Carriage House Cafe on Stewart Ave., across
from ABC Cafe, famed vegetarian joint
virtually synonymous with Ithaca that’s closing
at the end of the month, in the hole
with so much else. Still open but I chose
the more chi-chi joint with the beautiful
stone walls and overpriced scones and
glass tables, which I don’t like, but
they bake good bread here and it’s one
of the several coffee-serving joints
where I whiled away my seven years
writing poems and papers and a big honking
dissertation, an exercise in prolonged and steady
meditation that I very much enjoyed but
don’t quite miss: still when I start writing
my Ammons article I’ll be back in that mode
for a while. Emily’s New York friends Rachel
and Jen and their kids Delilah and Isaac
are here (the husbands stayed home) so they’re
out in the gray shine looking for adventure:
Isaac, who’s five, has a crush on Sadie,
often taking her hand, and she looks up at him
with a face somehow open and mistrustful
at the same time: she’s a pistol, as Emily
says, getting more and more confident
on her feet, starting to run a little, to hurtle
herself toward ledges and curbs in a way
to stop the heart: how put into words
her charm, her spirit of independent
insatiability: don’t try, let her run
through these poems as she runs
across floors and grasses
to her own sweet will yet invisibly
tethered still to us, at some perihelion
she turns, comes running, presses her face
into our knees and says Up, up
and while she’s small enough and I’m
strong enough I’ll swoop her up
to shoulder height and she’ll cling there
with complete naturalness and without shedding
curiosity about street musicians and gravel
and my glasses, which she sometimes commands
me to remove, and I do quite dutifully
and she’s enraptured by this as she is by many
simple acts: I wouldn’t have thought
myself so very far from childhood, I can still
look through eyes near to the ground,
but her elemental being gives me pause:
crossing the bridge over the gorge that separates
South Hill from East Hill this morning I was plodding
with eyes on my phone reading something
on a blog, had to stop myself and go back
to take in the two views, the creek leading out
toward the town, the creek winding into
the forest and out of sight
to where the gorge cuts more deeply and narrowly
vanishing somewhere east of campus.
My time here is vanishing so
better get to it: Ammons’ “Essay on Poetics”
and some more musing on possible intersections
between his one:many obsession and Russell’s
Paradox, which Badiou has put me in mind of:
kids, stay in school, take that calculus
class, I never thought I’d regret not studying
higher mathematics but I’m regretting it now:
an online quiz tells me I use my left and
right brains equally but still I sometimes feel
the left side’s underdeveloped and the pleasures
of truly abstract thought elude me
or come only in flashes, as the ceiling fan
makes the light flash on this table, unsteady
illumination of a solid surface. I’ll say
peace be unto the Iranian protestors
and to the rain that’s promising to fall.

No comments:

Popular Posts