August 4, 2008
We’ve both been busy this summer, this year really,
so it’s been a while since we talked and I want
to let you know, I’m moving, and you are too.
We can be truck twins the way we were Proust twins.
There is none of that ripping feeling as I clear the
shelves, tape the flaps, sneeze, look out the window
for one of an uncertain number of last times. None
of that ongoing elegy we used to encourage. I know in advance
there’s not much I will miss here, except the place
I buy wine and a few people, who are bound to scatter
anyway. Maybe the Whole Foods. I’m just not sad this time
even though sometimes I try to be. I haven’t cried.
I often cried when I thought about not leaving.
(Don’t you know it!) Are you having this kind of thing too?
That it might be too easy? Or that it hasn’t gotten easier
we’ve just gotten lazier about keeping track of what was?
I don’t think I’m sad this time. But who can tell
before you’re actually in your car and you look up
in the rearview to see your street behind you
for the real last time. Like Claire in the last scene
of Six Feet Under. And it might be–why
would I ever come back to this cul-de-sac in Boca
to see an apartment. The beach, the pizza place,
maybe, but not this. It can get real then. Or when
I’ve blinked past that threat and it’s time to fill up
the truck past the half tank it came with and we turn
back out onto the road going the wrong direction
and Daniel makes a u-turn in the inexpertly weighted
truck rather than turning right and waiting for a place
to make a real turn, and suddenly the potential disaster
of everything is apparent. A u-turn in your UHaul
at the very first intersection. This seems inauspicious,
but he’s right. There’s only forward to go. Best luck
with moving and what comes after. I sent you
something, finally, and I hope you haven’t left
when it gets there.
July 25, 2008
Thanks for calling me back. It is Illinois on the other side
of your state, it turns out. Funny how even the most local
geographies can be left blank in our minds, like the side
of the bed I don’t sleep on. I’m almost to the border.
And after that? The map is on the passenger side,
tucked between the bag with truly important papers
and the seat back, and I don’t want to take my eyes off
the road, which keeps unfurling each mile more
grassy, less hilly. Sometimes I think I’m not moving
to a new state, I’m having a 1500 mile sing-along. I’m going
down to Liverpool to remember when I had so much
promise then, it was my wings that made me
want to drive all night. What is the road
but another way to become a song, and isn’t that all
we’ve wanted? I’ve been thinking lately about how
I will explain driving, not like this, to move for a year,
but the way we used to do it, for no reason but to moving
as air and song poured across us, to children I might have.
I’ve been thinking about the way we decide things, big
things, and then take another drink. How we usually only
talk about the big things in small boxes, like the one
this page is making. I hope that job works out. I hope
this job works out, so that in a year I can say
I had to do this, I had to begin in this raw, sudden way.
You know? Can this finally be a story, and not a gap
in the story, a side of the road where we’re all
stalled in the dust of a rainless summer? Of course
we also know that this is also motion, not matter
how it looks or feels, our peculiar form of
road that no one else is seeing yet. Here’s to us,
slipping across the line into the next state.
Say hi to AH for me before you leave OH & take care. SJ
July 20, 2008
Thanks for the evil urges. As always. I had been highly suspicious
of your state before today, but today I’m seeing it
another way. I’m at the first rest stop, just inside
the border, the welcome center. I’m welcomed.
My cats are welcomed. Yesterday, on the turnpike,
we ate a hot, fast, and dripping lunch, mayonnaise
and ice pack condensation combining to make
our sandwiches disentegrate, seem
to disappear before we could get it to our mouths.
The cats didn’t drink any of the water
we gave them and started breathing heavily.
We left so much heat behind us to get here, cool Kentucky
after a front came through yesterday, a breezy 70 degrees.
It felt like Christmas getting out of the car, because it was a gift
and because we’ve been spending Christmas in Miami
the past few years. We took the cat cages out and ate
in the shade. We talked to people’s grandchildren about them.
We took our time. I didn’t want to leave. I get
why you want to go back. Hills and hills of grass
and a simple road. I wanted to start driving again
just to be on it. Space can have answers in it, or no answers.
We didn’t pass a lot of houses, so I never imagined
you & A in a particular one, but I do imagine that
for you. I see you in a house. With dogs and and beer.
With the lights on at night at the end of a road.
Good luck with the thesis–please always remember,
you made my husband cry
in a way that meant thank you–and good luck
with the middle schoolers. SJ
July 17, 2008
The days since I started working at this library have felt a little bit like being a kid in a candy store, or a college freshman in the age of Napster–there’s a sudden feeling that everything I want in terms of books is suddenly right here, and it’s summer, and quiet, and not a lot of stuff is checked out. This is because I want a lot of poetry, fiction, and criticism, and that’s kind of what liberal arts schools specialize in. So naturally I’ve been checking out way more books that I realistically have time to read. But one of them did get read last night, a book I haven’t seen in a good long while which was Richard Hugo‘s Collected Poems, and in that collected one book in particular, 31 Letters and 13 Dreams. I first read the Letters & Dreams in high school, and there’s no poetry like the poetry one reads in high school on the recommendation of a teacher who is very wise and generous and writerly. I love these poems. They are all written to other writers, and they all have the same title format: Letter to Kizer from Seattle, for example. They have a lovely way of combining the physical (place, weather, things) with the emotional (friendship, depression, joy). Here’s a sample, towards the end of this person’s blog post. I especially love the letters, and reading them at that age must have had a big impact, b/c some of the my favorite poems that I’ve written myself are letters. And even if they don’t turn out good, I always enjoy writing a letter poem. They’re just a lot of fun–you get to talk about yourself while talking to another person, which naturally brings place into b/c if you’re writing obviously you’re in separate places so you need to describe where you are. Also, you can say things that are a little bit deeper than you might normally say in a catch up letter, which is normally what I want to say anyway.
Over my peanut butter lunch just now, I got to thinking, hey, I just drove across the country and I need to catch up w/ some peeps, so why don’t I write some letter poems? I’ve been wanting to blog more about the trip, but haven’t thought of good ways to frame/start posts, and I’ve been wanting to reflect more on the trip and how it’s felt different than other big trips I’ve made. I’ve also been wanting to write people some long emails. So watch for some letter poems here. I’m going to start with ones addressed to people who are known readers of this blog. And oh yeah, I’m going to write them “from” some of the places we stopped along the way here, even though I am no longer there. That’s my poetic license, see. I’m going to write them here (or mostly here) in the blog, very little revision, so I’m not promising anyone great poetry. Just fun poetry, I hope. B/c what’s more fun than a letter written to you?? If you read this blog and you are my friend and you know that I don’t know that you read it, drop me an email so that I’ll write to you. And they won’t be in any particular order, just as I think of them. And we’ll see how long this project lasts!