feb 20/RUN

2.6 miles
river road, south/north
36! degrees

Wow, it feels like spring this morning! Warmer air, bright sun, melting snow, chirping birds — cardinals and chickadees. Lots of walkers and runners and bikers on the trails, but no one was taking over the path. Saw someone running in shorts, someone walking with their winter coat draped over their arm. Heard some people hiking the winchell trail. The path was mostly clear, with a few narrow sheets of ice. The river was still covered with snow and ice.

Before I went out for my run, I was listening to Lulu Miller’s story, “The 11th Word,” on Radiolab. (It was originally published in 2020 in the Paris Review). In it, she considers language and how the ability to name might shape us in negative ways. She discusses how we use language to name things, and while that give us order, and some sort of control, it also strips us of our ability to live in and with uncertainty. I kept thinking, as I listened, about poetry and how it often attempts to make words and language uncertain again. There are ways to use/play with/invoke language that aren’t about Knowing or controlling or getting rid of the uncertainty. I wondered if I would think more about this as I ran, I didn’t. I don’t remember thinking about anything but how it felt like spring and I was over-dressed and wishing I’d worn a few less layers.

Also before I went out for a run, I listened to about 20 minutes of Tommy Pico reading his amazing book-length poem, IRL. Wow! Here’s an excerpt of an excerpt from it. I’m blown away by Pico’s voice (the writing, and his audio).

excerpt of an excerpt IRL/ Tommy Pico

Just what is so scary abt
the cave? I… I can hear
my heart beating in there
and I don’t like it.
In an effort to connect,
fingers will click open
more and more tabs.
People say there are three
Muses or nine sometimes
six or eight but
we’re friends now,
Imma crack open
the mythology for u—
Really there are four
states of Muse:
Solitude carries a deck
of cards. Intimacy brought
lube. Anonymity is here
I think. Reserve gives gift
certificates. Obviously.
The influence of Muse
is not unlike being under
the influence, the way a poem
is spontaneously drunk
on Robert Graves. The
implications of Muse pop
fizz in all directions: photography,
printing press,
telephone, flash fry, cave etc.
The temple of Muse
is all around you. Don’t patronize
me, tradition
is a cage Conflict constant The
argument to post will take
more on and more alluring
forms. Muse must be chased!
Vigilance is all that stands btwn
us and a police state Tell me
as I switch between lenses—
which is clearer: A… or B. One
more time? Okay, A… or B.
I can’t ever see
where I stand in the lineage
of art, but I find being alone
maxes out my HP really
makes me kinder: Gap
btwn talking to mom vs
talking to mom
Muse used to mean
purpose in being
alone—Muse is romanticized
by the idea of possession and lord
knows I can’t live unoccupied.

I want to do something with their mention of switching between lenses and whether it is better in A or B. Very cool. Yes, the idea of being better with A or B (or 1 or 2), makes me think about this in-between state I’m in with my vision right now, both how well I can and cannot see, but also which world is better or preferable or more true, whatever that means — the world I was in where I could see mostly normally, or the world I’m slowly entering now where my central vision is almost gone or totally gone. I always struggle with either/or choices and the binaries they create. I want to do some more research on this vision test — what it’s called, who developed it and for what reason, why it’s used and if there are alternatives test to measure the same thing.