Site Meter Peculiar Susceptibility: December 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The intimate mathematics of gravity on the body that has not slept

This winter more than any other I can remember, I've redefined my relationship to snow, and to walking in it.

I haven't been sleeping properly this season - it's either been over-long and oddly ineffective (waking up with every muscle thoroughly drained of energy) or it's been totally absent.

I started a poetry series of little things that I write exclusively when sleep-deprived. I wrote another just now. Last night I couldn't sleep. I sprawled out and flipped through sundry books; I took other books off my parents' shelves (Connolly's selected writings were too intense, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - with another person's marginalia - was much too compelling); I paced; I looked at things. Eventually, I took a walk in the woods that surround may parents' house. The moon wasn't out, but the snow gave off the most gorgeous ambient light.

Someone had been cross-country skiing up there. I wonder how they were able to avoid branches.

I listened to the trees creak. I held onto their trunks when the wind made them sway.

I rested at the top of the hill, determined to wait until I heard an owl. I did.

And as I started to return home, I saw a coyote. It looked at me. I looked at it. We parted ways.

I came home and thought about things. Earlier in the night, I had heard my father murmur that my mother is so beautiful as he was falling asleep. What a privilege to grow up amidst a love as deep as theirs.

Who could sleep in the face of that?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

"on its string. Birdlike, the almanac"

What perfect timing, I thought, to come across this article about the discovery of the oldest known brain in Britain, just as the days for An Archaeology of Wonder are dwindling away.

One of the most beautiful things about the discovery, at least as far as I can tell from the articles I read, is that it's of no neurological import. This will yield no significant information about the human brain, itself remaining essentially unchanged, they claim, in the last 2,000 years. So then, it's an object of auratic wonder - that thing which has somehow (and here's what they're trying to figure out) bent the rules of time and decay.

No other soft organs but it.

It was Randy who suggested, when I enthusiastically declared that I was "SO going to write a poem about this," that I make it a sestina. Good advice. I'm in the midst of mapping it out. How appropriate.

My notes...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wading ankle-deep in the bluebells

I've felt so much like Leonard Bast these days.

I think it's partly that I'm writing about culture and class in various places, so there are obvious associations there. But in some more fundamental way, I have been either fighting or succumbing to the urge to walk off into the night for the last couple weeks.

Taken at 3:13 a.m.

Here's to not getting crushed.