Friday, June 14, 2019

A Particular Book

“The part of me that intended to write that particular book wasn’t capable of it, and the part of me that was capable of writing books didn’t want to write that one.”

The deep strangeness of the ordinary 
Considered on an ordinary day
Is the closest we are likely to get 

To composing a deep woods adventure
Filled with chiaroscuro characters.
We tramp recollection’s overgrown scrub,

Its spindly trunks, its scratchy underbrush.
The longer a life, the more it begins
To resemble a collection of lives

In retrospect, and then, increasingly,
A burned-over and beetle-infested
Patchwork collection of groves and clear-cut

Lives, with here and there an old memory
Left standing, wind-bent or split by lightning,
Distorted by decades of winter storms.

Wandering so much blossoming ruin
Is no way to get lost, find a mentor,
Open a portal to another world.

The strangeness is the presence of a past
Composed of tenacity and distance,
The sun beating down on a glaring gap

Home to those invasive, weedy species
That root down and nest in forgetfulness.
Over there, in that shade, wasn’t that where

We once lay, skin to skin, young and scheming
The great, enduring forest we would raise?
Did we really live in that roofless shack

Shimmering with distance now in the haze?
Yes, we did. Someone we might imagine
We were, we might remember, lived those days.

There was a story we thought we could write
About a forest without memory,
A future of trees that held up the night.

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