Sunday, November 22, 2009

The months and days are wayfarers of a hundred generations

Yesterday my wife Olga turned 30. We were not able to celebrate together because she was down in Irvine at a conference, getting hugged by Joe Palca (NPR), and sang to by an entire room during a panel discussion. Instead, Irene and Jeremy came down to Felton to visit. We celebrated on Olga's behalf by wine tasting in the mountains.

After Irene and Jeremy headed back to Oakland, I settled in for my first night alone in our new place. As I was was operating on roughly four hours of sleep over 56 hours, had been wine tasting all day, and had nothing else to do, I poured myself a nice glass of Jameson, put on some Brahms, flipped thru Basho's Narrow Road to the Interior, stripped to my wife-beater and boxers, and got all dozy.

But first I wanted to charge my phone so that when the wife did call, I could talk to her. As she had taken our wall charger with her, I had to improvise. I went out to Nash Lenin, our second car, turned the key so the electrics would start, and plugged my phone into the car charger.

All of these details are important, really.

I read: "My close friends, who had been gathered since the previous evening, sent me off in a boat. When we climbed out of the boat at a place called Senju, I was depressed by the thought of the three thousand miles that lay ahead and shed tears at a parting in this illusory world." and fell happily to sleep.

It was roughly 6:30.

At 8:30 I wake to find two deputies standing at the threshold of the now open door to my apartment.

So there I am, half awake, half-dressed like poor white men always seem to be when John Law pays them a visit, staring blearily at two armed men.

They ask me my name, ask where my wife is, ask if I've been drinking ('not that we care, we're just asking'), and then proceed to enlighten me as to the reason for their friendly call.

Apparently a neighbor had seen my car with the keys in it, the phone on the seat, and the radio softly going, and had decided that I had been abducted or worse and called the sheriff, rather than knocking on my door or even just minding his or her own business.

The deputies give me my keys back, tell me my phone is in my car, and that I should probably keep my doors locked.

"We almost came in with our guns out."
"Well, I appreciate your restraint."

They also called the last number in my phone, which was Irene. They didn't tell me they got a hold of her and freaked her out with their (im)probable abduction story.

My phone retrieved and John Law gone off to protect and serve elsewhere, I pour myself another glass of Jameson and dozily keep Basho company on his journey.

Then Jeremy calls to see if I have been abducted, because the sheriff called and told them I had been. They are relieved that I am in possession of my own person.

Then Olga calls to see if I have been abducted because Irene had called her to see if I had been. She was pretty sure I was unabducted.

Quite a bit of fuss. A drama involving at least one nervous neighbor, a dispatcher, two deputies, and three cities, (Oakland, Felton, Irvine) two friends and one wife, all around a phone charging in a car and a man napping in his apartment.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

before the stoneday blows the men and animal-swarms empty

That's a line from Paul Celan.

Hello neglected readers, neglected intent. One would think that my own crush in Kansas would have made for ample posting here, but somehow, things worked out differently. My writing has proceeded apace, as they say, but on many other projects.

For instance, Hanae and I signed our contracts with Heyday Books on Wednesday for Kodoku.

It lives.

But I have no time to pause. Remember: "It's later than you think."

My work has been filled recently with a Minotaur, the mythical city Quivera, a giant named Hunger, the diaspora of pigeons, and, today, the ancient oak forest of Long Valley, north Monterey Co, and the crack of a whip.

Tomorrow I'm finally going to make the pilgrimage to Tor House, the stone home built by Robinson Jeffers and his son. Robinson Jeffers is one of the finest poets of the 20th Century but only a handful of people know it. Here, I'll prove it.

Tor House

If you should look for this place after a handful of lifetimes:
Perhaps of my planted forest a few
May stand yet, dark leaved- Australians or the coast cypress, haggard
with storm drift; but fire and the axe are devils.
Look for the foundations of sea-worn granite, my fingers had the art
to make stone love stone, you will find some remnant.
But if you should look in your idleness after ten thousand years:
it is the granite knoll on the granite
and lava tongue in the midst of the bay, by the mouth of the Carmel
River-Valley, these four will remain
in the change of names. You will know it by the wild sea-fragrance of the wind
though the ocean may have climbed or retired a little;
You will know it by the valley inland that our sun and our moon were born from
before the poles changed; and Orion in December
evenings was strung in the throat of the valley like a lamp-lighted bridge.
Come in the morning you will see white gulls
weaving a dance over blue water, the wane of the moon
their dance companion, a ghost walking
by daylight, but wider and whiter than any bird in the world.
My ghost you needn't look for; it is probably
here, but a dark one, deep in the granite, not dancing on wind
with the mad wings and the day moon.

--Robinson Jeffers

Of more topical things I will speak later.