jan 6/RUN

3.25 miles
trestle turn around
27 degrees
50% slick ice-covered

Ugh! The temperature was great, so was the wind, but the path was terrible. So slippery–not all of it, but enough to make it very difficult to run on. I’ve been wondering why the paths are so awful this year and I think it is because they must not be treating the asphalt at all. Not sure what they used to put on it, but nothing this year. This is a bummer, but I’m sure whatever they were treating it with was not good for the river so I’m glad they’ve stopped.

Paused at the trestle to put in my headphones and admire the beautiful, brown river. Very peaceful today. Don’t remember much else except for the walk before the run: I heard lots of birds, an airplane, the hum of far off traffic, a chainsaw trimming a tree. Oh–and how the slick ice on the path was shining in the sun.

The Spider/ Heather Christle

The spider he is confused
b/c I am not killing him
only moving him outdoors
When I die I do not want
to feel confused
No I would rather feel clarity
like I am a pool
and death a chlorine tablet
I want it to feel
not like I am dying
but am being transferred
to the outside
And I hope I do not drown
as I have seen happen
to hundreds of spiders
b/c I love to swim
and to drown would
wreck swimming
for a long time
But death is like none of this
I know that death is a tower
standing in the middle of the town
And the tower receives
many visits
And there’s no one
but spiders inside

Heather Christle is wonderful. Favorite line: “I hope I do not drown/as I have seen happen/ to hundreds of spiders/ b/c I love to swim/and to drown would/wreck swimming/ for a long time”

This poem is part of a series called Back Draft in which poets show two versions of a poem and then discuss their revision process. Very interesting.

on revision

With me, I can pretty quickly hear whether there is a thing that is alive inside the poem. But for me, if that thing that’s alive in some poems isn’t there, there’s nothing I can do to make it come forward, you know? Some poems have life, and some just don’t. Sometimes it’s an ostrich, and sometimes it’s a cinder block, and no matter what I do I can’t make a cinder block be an ostrich (Heather Christle)

the process of writing poetry

an enormous part of what I’m doing is listening, that I’m listening to the strangeness that is within us, and within our world, and within our ways of speaking to one another. And I’m listening to the energies and desires of the words themselves, which isn’t to say that I think that I’m actually listening to Martians, to borrow Jack Spicer’s metaphor, you know? I don’t think that I’m catching the voices of ghosts or something. I don’t know what is on the other side of what I’m listening to, but I do know that it, for me, has to be heard right away, that I can’t slowly revise my way towards it. If I missed it the first time, it’s not going to become present.