march 31/RUN

3.5 miles
edmund bvld, south/north/32nd west/43rd south
46 degrees
Deaths from COVID-19: 12 (MN)/ 3,400 (US)

Trying not to read too much news about the virus. I am doing what I need to do: nothing. I haven’t left the house, except for my daily runs and walks since March 10th. This staying home all the time is not that different from my regular (pre-pandemic) schedule, except for the added fear about how bad it might get that hovers around me all the time.

After reading about how the virus can (in the right conditions) spread through the air and thinking about how much less fun it has been to run by the gorge, always trying to avoid people, I decided to run on Edmund Boulevard today. It is parallel to the river road, separated by a large stretch of grass, an occasional tree and some ancient boulders. From Edmund, you can’t ever see the river, but you can see the trail and the trees on the bluff and, in early spring, a few glimpses of the other side. Because it’s a road, there’s more room and more chances to stay farther away from other people. The only problem: the continuous stretch of it near me starts in the south at 42nd and ends in the north at 32nd. Even when you add in a few more streets to make a loop, it’s only a 5k. I’ll have to think about ways to make it longer without having to repeat.

Bright sun today. A few birds. Too many people walking around everywhere. Don’t remember what I thought about. Did I see anything interesting? No birds soaring above me. No Daily Walker. No shimmering river or welcoming oaks or spazzy squirrels. No kids playing at the playground. No roller skiers. No fat tires. No shadow following or leading me. Ran over some grit in the street and was able to listen to the shshshsh of my striking feet. Saw some dogs and their humans. A little kid on a bike. Two women taking over most of the road, keeping 6 feet of distance from each other. A runner pushing a kid in a jogging stroller. A man talking on the phone as he slowly walked on the grass.

an evening walk

Around 6pm yesterday, Scott, Delia the dog, and I took a walk around the neighborhood. Here are three things that I wanted to remember:

  1. Someone was playing saxophone outside. They were very good, so good that lots of people were walking on the street towards them. I was curious to see who and where they were, but Scott was freaked out by all the people, so we kept walking. I like hearing random instruments playing around the neighborhood.
  2. I found it! Finally, after seeing a cute little gnome-sized door at the bottom of a tree several years ago and then trying to locate it again with no luck, I found it! Well, Scott found it first. It’s near the corner of 33rd street and 48th avenue. Hidden behind some tall grass.
  3. We noticed some chairs set up at the end of a street, blocking it off. A woman was sitting in one of the chairs reading a book. Kids were biking up and down the street. Am I being too freaky to think that this might not be a good idea and that these kids aren’t staying far enough away from each other? I’m so glad my kids are older and that they are introverts who mostly like to text with their friends. It would be very hard to find ways to entertain a young kid who was super extroverted right now.

a poem, a page

Here are two poems I recently discovered that are about the relationship between a poem and a page.

POEM WHITE PAGE WHITE PAGE POEM/ from Muriel Rukeyser’s “The Gates”

Poem white page white page poem
something is streaming out of a body in waves
something is beginning to declare for my whole life
all the despair and the making music
something like wave after wave
that breaks on a beach
something like bringing the entire life
to this moment
the small waves bringing themselves to white paper
something like light stands up and is alive

Fool’s Gold/ Ted Mathys

This morning I love everyone, 
even Jerome, the neighbor I hate, 
and the sun. And the sun 

has pre-warmed my bucket seat  
for the drive up Arsenal Street  
with the hot car effect,  

a phenomenon climatologists 
use to explain global warming 
to senators and kids. 

I love the limited edition 
Swingline gold stapler 
in the oil change lounge 

which can, like a poem, 
affix anything to anything 
on paper. One sheet of paper, 

for instance, for that cloud of gnats, 
one for this lady’s pit mix 
wagging his tail so violently 

I fear he’ll hurt his hips.  
One sheet for glittered lip balm, 
for eye contact, Bitcoin extortion 

and the imperfect tense.  
Sheets for each unfulfilled wish 
I left in a penny in a mall fountain. 

Sun spills into the lounge  
through the window decal 
in geometric Tetris wedges. 

I have a sheet for Tetris, 
its random sequence of pieces 
falling toward me in this well 

like color coded aspects of the life 
I neglected to live, for the pleasure 
of making line after line 

disappear. The gold stapler 
has twenty-sheet capacity 
so I straighten my stack 

on the reception counter 
and staple the day together 
with an echoing chunk.

Wow. I love both of these poems and want to spend some more time with them. In Rukeyser’s poem, I love the idea of something streaming out of the body in waves of despair and music. I love the idea of something–what is that something? An urge? A soul? I love the different things you can imagine about that something. In Mathys’s poem, I love how the line break works in line 3: “and the sun. And the sun”. I love how the sun keeps returning. I love the gold stapler and how he links it with a poem: “like a poem,/ affix anything to anything/ on paper.” I love how each idea gets its own sheet of paper.