mississippi river road path, north/south
Ran at noon today. Had to wait for the rain to stop. A bit windy and wet–a be-puddled path–but otherwise okay. Just green green and more green. Not many bugs…yet…so haven’t acquired the persistent itch that irritates summer Sara. Decided to run with an audio book that I checked out of the library–Murder on the Orient Express. Pretty great. I’m trying to slowly acclimate myself to audio books so that when I can no longer see to read (most likely within the next 5 years), it won’t feel like as big of a loss. Listening to the book was fun and distracting. I wouldn’t want to do it every time because it’s harder to pay attention to the path and the river or listen to the wind and the scratching grit, but it would be nice to add into the mix.
Do I remember much from the run? Some dripping. Greeting the Daily Walker and the Man in Black! Glancing at the green gorge. Catching a few fleeting glimpses of the river. Wondering when the wind would hit me (once I turned around). Not much else. Too focused on listening to Hercule Poirot examine the clues and contend with his idiot assistant.
I just remembered one cluster of thoughts I had as I neared the Lake Street Bridge, heading south. Listening to Agatha Christie talk about Poirot and his eagle eyes (or hawk eyes or some sort of extremely observant bird eyes), I started thinking about how much these old sleuths rely on reason and vision. Then I remembered the show “Lie to Me” and how the detectives used almost imperceptible visual cues (or tells) to determine when a suspect was lying. What if you can’t see very well? What about other ways to sense what is happening–like hearing. I remember reading a brief article earlier this year about how people are more emphatic when talking to a person on the phone (not seeing but only hearing them) than on FaceTime–something about being able to focus on the pauses in their voice, etc. Are there famous literary sleuths who are blind (or who don’t use vision but other senses)? I googled it and so far I found this: Mourning the Little Dead. Also found this helpful link: Disabled Isn’t Unable
How to Get There
BY PHILIP LEVINE
Turn left off Henry onto Middagh Street
to see our famous firehouse, home
of Engine 205 and
Hook & Ladder 118 and home also to
the mythic painting “Fire under
the Bridge” decorating
the corrugated sliding door. The painting
depicts a giant American flag
wrinkled by wind
and dwarfing the famous Brooklyn Bridge
as it stretches as best it can
to get a purchase
on Manhattan. In the distance a few dismal
towers and beyond the towers
still another river.
A little deal table holds a tiny American
flag—like the one Foreman held
as he bowed to
receive gold at the ’68 Olympics in Mexico
City—; this actual flag is rooted in
a can of hothouse
roses going brown at the edges and beginning
to shed. There’s a metal collection
box bearing the
names of those lost during the recent burnings.
Should you stop to shake the box—
which is none
of your business—you’ll hear only a whisper.
Perhaps the donations are all
ones, fives, tens, twenties, or more likely
there are IOUs and the heart
has gone cold from so much asking.
Down the block and across
the street, a man
sleeps on the sidewalk, an ordinary
man, somehow utterly spent,
he sleeps through
all the usual sounds of a Brooklyn noon.
Beside him a dog, a terrier,
its muzzle resting
on crossed paws, its brown eyes wide
and intelligent. Between man
and dog sits
a take-out coffee cup meant to receive,
next to it a picture of Jesus—
a digital, color photograph of the Lord
in his prime, robed and
impossibly young and athletic, and—
as always—alone. “Give
what you can,”
says a hand-lettered cardboard sign
to all who pass. If you stand
there long enough
without giving or receiving the shabby,
little terrier will close his eyes.
If you stand
there long enough the air will thicken
with dusk and dust and exhaust
and finally with
a starless dark. The day will become something
it’s never been before, something for
which I have no name.
I picked this poem because I’m thinking about my running route project and creative ways of describing place. Love the line, “dusk and dust and exhaust” and the mention of hush money and the description of Jesus, in his prime, young and athletic. I’ve been working on a haibun that includes a framed image of Jesus, found in the gorge. I think I’ll add some more detail to my description.