Archive for October, 2011

This Halloween

October 28th, 2011

George W. Bush with trick-or-treaters

The sugar farmers will do just fine without me.

The farmworkers who grow and harvest the sugar will do, well, no worse without me than they would have, otherwise.

The truckers and shippers will do just fine without me.

The drivers and mechanics and warehouse people all will be as busy as usual without me.

The sugar refiners will do just fine without me.

More truckers and shippers will do just fine without me.

The candy manufacturers will do just fine without me.

The candy manufacturers’ employees will do, well, you know.

More truckers and shippers will do just fine without me.

The candy wholesalers will do just fine without me.

The candy distributors will do just fine without me.

The candy advertisers will do just fine without me.

The candy retailers will do just fine without me.

The candy retailers’ employees will get by.

The childrens’ costume and halloween paraphernalia companies will do just fine without me.

…and their wholesalers, distributors, advertisers, and retailers, ditto.

The plastic pumpkin manufacturers will do just fine without me.

The disposable vegetable pumpkin industry will do just fine without me.

The makers of halloween music, movies, and tv shows will do just fine without me.

The children will satisfy their greed for sugar just fine without me.

The budding peewee sugar addicts, future alcoholics, diabetics, fatties, and heart disease victims, will get their fixes just fine without me.

The whole great pyramid, balanced upside down on top of those little heads, will not waver one iota.

An invitation

October 22nd, 2011

Here's the harp guy again. I couldn't find a picture of the South Burlington Farmers Market.

The last South Burlington Farmers Market of 2011 occurs from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 23, at the lot next to Healthy Living on Dorset Street in South Burlington.  It’s a fun little market.  I thoroughly enjoyed my day there two weeks ago, and plan to attend again with a table full of books for sale and a head full of dreams.  If the configuration is the same this Sunday, I’ll be there at the far end, between an organic fruit and vegetable stand and a Somali woman who makes some of the most wonderful samosas I’ve ever had. I also have to mention the woman from the Euro restaurant , who sells stuffed cabbage and borekas and other balkan delicacies of surpassing goodness, and who, out of what I think was an impulse of pure generosity, came over and gave me a container of heavenly moussaka at the end of the day. I had it for dinner. And breakfast. That week, in addition to basking in sunny warmth, I sold a few books, which was a few books more than I had expected to sell, so the day was an unqualified success.  Two buyers in particular stand out in my recollection. One was a middle-aged man who said he was buying it for his son, a poet and musician in New Hampshire. I wished his son good luck in his chosen professions. Another was a retired professor from MIT, who stood there for a good fifteen minutes with a copy in his hand, turning it over and over as if expecting to see something different on the cover each time. Towards the end his wife was calling impatiently for him to get a move on. He told me he had taught a course on Western Civilizations and then engaged me in conversation, gently quizzing me to see whether I had some idea what I claimed to be talking about. I must have convinced him. It is extraordinarily pleasant, to hand over a small bundle of paper and ink, representing seven years or so of one’s life’s work, to a perfect stranger in exchange for money! Especially when the transaction is accompanied by conversation and smiles. So I’ll be there on Sunday, smiling and ready to converse, and I hope you will, too. If you’ve already got a copy of my book, and don’t need to buy any for gifts, you can always stop by, say hello, and pick up a samosa.  And some moussaka. You’ll have to pay for the moussaka, though.

To a Former Lover

October 15th, 2011

…is the title of a poem I wrote about a dream I had a few weeks ago. There’s something of approaching winter in it, so it is appropriate to the season. I’ve been wrestling with ideas about death and identity in the section of Purgatory I’m currently working on, and I think they surfaced and started to come together here. I read the poem out loud for the first time at the Flynndog last night, at the reconvening after too many months’ suspension of the poetry group that meets there. The group was in hiatus while the restaurant space in which we gather changed hands. Only five were in attendance, far outnumbered by the accompanying beer bottles, but they seemed to like this poem. I don’t think their positive reaction was altogether due to the beer, although in the case of one of them it may have influenced the degree of his enthusiasm. I don’t think I’ve ever been thanked quite so effusively before. Certainly not for so dark a poem. And so, without further ado:

In my dream, and a short while after awakening,
I could not remember your name.
I remembered the turrets of your nipples
atop your slackened breasts that day you lay
dozing on the rocks high above the quarry
where people swam, that day we first met.
I remembered the complex curves of your abdomen,
a concavity running each side of your convex belly,
the ridges and peaks of your hips cradling
your gingery thatch, and the years I wandered those hills,
first in joy and then sometimes in desperation.
I remembered your snaggle-toothed grin and your
googly eyes that seemed to me and still seem to me
beautiful, and I remembered your decision,
gratefully ratified, to abort our child.

I remembered so much – our fights and of course
what followed them; your passionate intelligence;
the day I came to live in your town and you
inscrutably turned your back on me; your shoulder blades
sharp as knives or wings, square as cinder blocks;
part of your chest brushing part of my chest when you
slowly turned back to me, crying – but
I could not remember your name.
To each memory, I could not put a name.
I told myself each time that even so, missing only
a set of syllables meaningless in itself, I still held
the better part of whatever I could ever hold of you;
and then by straining to call your name, helpless
not to, as helpless as not to take a breath, I denied it,
and I cursed the sky and the worms that devour us.


Come and get it!

October 6th, 2011

I’ll be hawking my wares at the South Burlington Farmers’ Market, next door to Healthy Living on Dorset Street in South Burlington (that’s north of 187th Street for you New Yorkers) on Sunday, October 9, 2011, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., signing copies, chatting with passers-by, and hoping to snag a few pounds of fresh late season cabbage to put in the sauerkraut crock I bought on my visit to North Waldoboro, Maine a couple of weeks ago.  Yes, there is such a place as North Waldoboro, and it is the home of Morse’s, a German themed restaurant and food store purveying some of the finest fermented cabbage there is.  Just as North Waldoboro is the unlikely home of excellence in the form of this pungent comestible, I intend to make South Burlington this weekend an outlet for my own, um, well, you get the picture.  South Burlington is my home town, so along with the locally grown tomatoes and beet greens, locally produced Moroccan pastries, local psychics, local maple products, and such like, there will be a local poet.  Hope to see you there!