tuesday, september 16

reasons not to compose on a typewriter

the sundown comes in horizontally,
under the clouds, tinging everything
in that uncanny end of day light
like it's streaming in under a door
in some stone grey room
or more like through a window
in a wall in the kind of place
we all occasionally think of being
but in an average lifetime
very seldom are

anyway, none of this signals anything
beyond what it signals: i live near
the mountains, the overcast is seldom
complete, it's september

and i'm living the kind of life where
attaching meaning to this or that
incidental facet of experience is always basically
a kind of kidding myself, a little put-on
like getting misty-eyed towards the end
of some TV show you've never cared about
much and won't think about again until
years later you read that some vaguely
likeable small-time actor, best known for
his role as the curmudgeonly old doctor/lawyer/
bartender/cab-driver/janitor/principal/cop
has died at 86 in his hollywood home
he'll be missed
well, by somebody
and he was great in that off-broadway
production of such and such, he had hidden
depths as a performer, you might not have
known it from the commercial work he did
in his later years to make the rent

his life is not the kind of life i am living
it's abundantly clear, immediately obvious, &c.,
that when i kick it (a car wreck in two years,
cancer in fifteen, heart disease in 30,
alzheimer's in 43 — possibilities abound)
there will not be a footnote
to some broadcast — "and finally, on a sadder note,
we turn to the passing of a man you may remember best
as Uncle Ralph on How to Put Up With Suzy.
Brennen Bearnes was 57."

nor, in line with ambitions i suppose i
actually possess, or at least proclivities in the
line of craft, are there going to be notices in
minor literary journals and random scholarly fora,
nor remembrances by younger writers i helped
to prominence when they were struggling, though
i myself never quite seemed to achieve the recognition
that several critics were reasonably sure i was on
the edge of for most of a career consisting of
the kind of work that always seems like, well,
he might break through with the next one —
this is good, but it falls apart in the last few
chapters, and while it's clearly a contribution to
the field, it's a shame the argument requires too
much specialist knowledge for the general audience
who'd benefit most — and anyway, why didn't he
tie up the plot thread with the blonde?

i'm getting my generic markers cross-pollinated
which is probably shorthand for something.

(written earlier in the week)