Monday, October 27, 2008

Let us do something grand, just this once

It's 10 in the morning and I've been up for a while. I am contemplating a second cup of coffee while I pack and organize and prepare to move in less than a week. (!) I'm not sure when the next time I update will be; my Internet situation may be sketchy at first.

I've packed all of my poetry books except for the one that was beside my bed, the collected poems of Frank O'Hara. I've been meaning to read them all, because I really like his poems. And they're filled with small daily details and descriptions of life in cities, which are things I'm thinking about lately. He was also one of the founders of the Poets' Theatre in Cambridge, not far from my new apartment. So in my (probably) last dispatch from Illinois, here are two poems by Mr. O'Hara, "1951" and "To the Poem."

Alone at night
in the wet city

the country's wit
is not memorable.

The wind has blown
all the trees down

but these anxieties
remain erect, being

the heart's deliberate
chambers of hurt

and fear whether
from a green apartment

seeming diamonds or
from an airliner

seeming fields. It's
not simple or tidy

though in rows of
rows and numbered;

the literal drifts
colorfully and

the hair is combed
with bridges, all

compromises leap
to stardom and lights.

If alone I am
able to love it,

the serious voices,
the panic of jobs,

it is sweet to me.
Far from burgeoning

verdure, the hard way
in this street.

To the Poem

Let us do something grand
just this once Something

small and important and
unAmerican Some fine thing

will resemble a human hand
and really be merely a thing

Not needing a military band
nor an elegant forthcoming

to tease spotlights or a hand
from the public’s thinking

But be In a defiant land
of its own a real right thing

from Allen, Donald, ed. The Collected Poems of Frank O'Hara. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Eyes on whatever your prize might be

Okay, bear with me because I don't exactly know what I want to say. But lately, I've been thinking about the way people interfere in the way other people live their lives. It's one thing for a friend to intervene when she thinks you're doing something that will result in sorrow down the road. It's another to be fighting others' preconceived expectations at every turn. Maybe I've just been living in the suburbs too long (and luckily I get to leave soon). I guess a lot of the thoughts I've had are similar to an entry I posted I think around Christmas, about how people live much more complex lives and have much more complex relationships then anyone likes to talk about. I think about the people I know who got married to socially acceptable partners and had kids, as they were expected to do, and then got divorced. Obviously the reasons for divorce are also complex, but would it have been as bad if there hadn't been a sense of failing those expectations?

Anyway, anyway. If anyone has any thoughts on these vague ramblings, let me know.

On another note: since muxtape as it was no longer exists, here's a text-only version of the latest playlist/CD I made myself. As usual, it's a mix of songs that won't get out of my head and ones that reflect my current state.

Eyes on the Prize

1. These are the Fables - the New Pornographers
2. Wash Away - the Chapin Sisters
3. Mamma Mia - Meryl Streep
4. Recommendation - Mirah
5. I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues - Elton John
6. The Wood Song - Indigo Girls
7. Good to Me - Inara George
8. The Ballad of John and Yoko - the Beatles
9. Eyes on the Prize - M. Ward
10. Troubled Times - Dar Williams
11. I'd Have You Anytime - George Harrison
12. My Sweet Love - John Mellencamp
13. Goodnight Lover - Dawn Landes
14. It's Alright - Dar Williams
15. Dry the Rain - the Beta Band

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Promised Land, redux

Well, it's been a while. Sorry to those who have been missing my little updates. Things have been happening at a rapid pace, and it's very nice, at this moment, to be sitting quietly on the back porch at my mother's house, on a sunny, windy October day.

I've had visitors, eye problems, excursions to Boston and Louisville and Indiana, and interviews in the past month or so. And there's more coming, because I'm going to be moving back to Boston in less than a month. My first day at my new job will actually be Election Day (I'll be voting early). I swear, the Dar's-new-album-karma worked again. A couple of weeks ago, I was wondering why I hadn't just stayed there after graduation, and tried to get by living alone on my little jobs. But I'm really glad I had this summer, and now I'm returning to Boston better than when I left, employed and paired. Not that being unemployed and single is necessarily bad. But I am a lucky, lucky girl.

In book news. Ryan and Clare have talked enough about BookMooch to get me to join today. My name is LaBibliotecaria, if you want to be friends. I'm looking forward to getting rid of a lot of books I don't need anymore before I move. (Of course, if one of you dear readers would like one outside the system, just let me know.)

I finished Sister Carrie on Friday night. It was pretty unsettling, I have to say. Realism in every sense of the word, including the ways that life is boring and unfair and progresses in ways that don't make sense. The most horrifying part was reading about Hurstwood's decline into homelessness and pennilessness, because it was so easy.

Also, I spent most of the day finishing The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman. I could not stop reading it. These are pretty audacious books, and extremely entertaining. I'll probably spend most of the day tomorrow reading The Amber Spyglass. I just picked up my hold from the public library - the trade paperback of Alan Moore's Watchmen. So that's what's coming down the pike.

Okay. Now it's 4:30 and I should start thinking about dinner. I am going to attempt to roast some of the potatoes that Michelle gave me from her family's farm, and hopefully I won't mess up a good thing.