Tuesday, July 6, 2010

been a'visiting

Ether, it's been a while. What have I been up to? Largely none of your business but a legitimate question. Actually, there are no illegitimate questions, only illegitimate people. So, I suppose you are safe on both counts. Though how your Eminent Diaphanousness is even such a thing as to qualify for safety from corporeal matters, I will never know. Perhaps, by insinuating your embodiment in this blog, this dead scroll of ones and zeros and hypertext mark-up, I have solidified your otherwise Zero-Status. I take the blame and in doing so, honor your question and legitimize your Being.

I have been a'visiting family in Mobile, Alabama, celebrating the Fourth of July. Why the Fourth of July? Well, here on earth (Substantiopetrapopulus to you, I believe) and in these United States of America we commemorate our independence as a nation on the day in which our written declaration of such was signed by our whitest and brightest. Typically events surrounding the occasion involve grilled meats and fireworks--variations are acceptable though rare. Even the unpatriotic, snide, and cynical generally take part in the festivities, unwilling as they usually are to pass up a party to prove a point.

(Ether, I confess to being all of those things at odd and slightly shameful times, but for the most part I try to curb my lack of enthusiasm for the sake of the gathering. Besides, at the end of the day, after the guilt of trespass, after the sorrow of spoils, after the tail-chasing polemics, I am glad to be an American--plenty happy, plenty free, and plenty fortunate.)

But I was saying . . . Mobile . . . family . . . my absence from Philosterous-Nonesucherol . . . well, here is a poem in progress to help you get a feel . . .

And At the Mirror Each Time

Thia Grace made out like a bandit

Selling quarter lemonade to uncles

With only paper bills. Jesse lit three-

Foot rods from the sputtering

Citronella candle and twirled

In a spangle of sparks. We all swatted

Gnats and suffered the bough-sieved

Rain to watch the amateur display

Of rockets and mortars, to comment

On how the smoke should keep

The mosquitoes at bay.

But earlier, before the burgers

And gumbo, while kids splatted

Water-balloons and pranced in the blow-

Up princess pool, Annalyn and I—

My newest niece, her wretched uncle—

Trolled the house on doldrums.

And at the mirror each time, we paused

To gurgle and grin—our reflections

So grotesque and magnificent, so full

Of promise and repulsion.

And this thought . . .

What should I tell her now? Now that Earth

Is as good as flat? Now in the moments

Before she naps? Nothing.

Nothing except this is freedom. Nothing

Except we have done a great thing,

You and I, tight-roping the gamut,

You poised, me palled, we gnarled

In this two-hearted body.

Or just nothing. Just sway, whistle

Through teeth a tinny lullaby.

Swallow the words and hum.

Guard against explosions.

Gurgle and grin.

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