If you put in three to four hours per day of deliberate practice,
within ten years the air around you will become firmer, making it
easier to stand upright, even in a wind storm. Many friends accuse
me of being from Oklahoma, so this is something I know something
about– wind and survival, funnel cakes and gas station tacos, a strong
core. And the people, I forgot about people: How each person I met
seemed to hold a message of some sort that I would decipher years
later while scribbling in a notebook, the code revealed as quickly
as it was extinguished. I love myself sometimes in my love for
the people, how noticing is like the whole world sitting up straight
and giving you a sad smile, or like taking off your own shirt and loving
your animal warmth apart from yourself. But you can’t just say that.
What? I didn’t say that. Together we can envelop the news, and I do
mean what we read in the papers, what is sprayed on the walls,
or whispered in paneled dens over a sleeping sibling. Brother, I’ll be
over here, like Thoreau on a stalled Q train on the Manhattan bridge,
scowling at the wondrous implicated sky. Sister, let me illuminate
the electric green muck of the Gowanus Canal. I am all about
forgetting, even when memory comes trudging up the stairs in the form
of a poem I shall never write in order to simply say goodbye, goodbye.
OK, fine– I remember you. Goodbye.