river road, south/edmund bvld, north/33rd street, west/43rd ave, south
287 confirmed cases of COVID-19
Felt warmer today. Wore shorts with tights underneath and my orange pullover. No gloves, no buff. Started on the path by the gorge, but it was crowded. At one point, three walkers were evenly spread out across the path. I had to temporarily cross the road and run in the grass. What is wrong with people? Still managed to keep my 6 feet of distance. Decided at the 44th street parking lot, to cross over to the grass on the other side and then run on the road at Edmund. Much better. If there are this many people out on the trail, and some of them refuse to honor a safe distance, I might have to start running on Edmund all the time. Not as nice as being right by the river, but still a nice view. And still outside. Took a left at 33rd and ran through the neighborhood on the edge of the road, mostly in the sandy grit. ShShShShShSh. Love that sound and the feeling of my feet slightly slipping. Why? Not sure. Was able to greet Dave the Daily Walker. I’m glad he’s doing okay.
birds! birds! birds!
Even as I recognize that chattering birds have been here all along, there is something different about hearing them in early spring. So loud today. Heard a few mourning doves and my favorite: the bird who does a rapid fire of sharp noises, almost like a laser gun from a 1970s sci-fi movie. Pu Pu Pu Pu Pu Pu. What is that bird? Also heard at least one woodpecker. Will I ever be able to recognize and remember bird sounds? I think it might take years.
LOVESONG OF THE SQUARE ROOT OF NEGATIVE ONE/ Richard Siken
I am the wind and the wind is invisible, all the leaves
tremble but I am invisible, bloom without flower, knot
without rope, song without throat in wingless flights, dark
boat in the dark night, pure velocity. As the hammer is
a hammer when it hits the nail, and the nail is a nail when
it meets the wood, and the invisible table begins to appear
out of mind, pure mind, out of nothing, pure thinking.
Through darkness, through silence, a vector, a violence,
I labor, I lumber, I fuel forward through the valley as
winter, as water, I mist and frost, flexible and elastic to
the task. I am the hand that lifts the rock, I am the mind
that strings the worm and throws the line and feels the tug,
the flex in the pole, and foot by foot I find the groove,
the trace in the thicket, the key in the lock, as root breaks
moving through the stations of the yardstick. I track,
I follow, I hinge and turn, frictionless and efficient as an
equal sign. I flip and fold, I superimpose, I become
location and you veer toward me, the eye to which you
are relative, magnetized for your revelation. Hook and bait,
polestar and checkmate, I am your arrival, there is no
refusal, we are here, you see, together, we are already here.
5 Things I Like About this Poem
- The flow and effortless movement forward
- Assonance: rope/throat/boat
- through silence, a vector, a violence
- I labor, I lumber, I fumble forward
- I am the hand that lifts the rock, I am the mind/ that strings the worm and throws the line and feels the tug,/ the flex in the pole, and foot by foot I find the groove,/ the trace in the thicket, the key in the lock, as root breaks/ rock, from seed to flower to fruit to rot, a holy pilgrim/ moving through the stations of the yardstick.
I just remembered why this poet seems familiar–I just listened to an amazing podcast with him! Episode 52: Richard Siken–Commonplace Conversation with Poets (and other People)/ Rachel Zucker A great interview and really intense when he talks about how fucked up his father was.
What is the significance of the square root of negative one? After looking it up (because I have forgotten any high level math I might have had 25 years ago), I know it has to do with imaginary numbers. But, what does that mean here?
I want to memorize this poem.