oct 17/BIKE

bike: 30 minutes
basement, bike stand

I’d like to run this morning, but I won’t. I’m trying to give my right knee a break. So instead, I did a short bike ride in the basement. Hopefully, later this week, I’ll swim at the Y. No deep thoughts while biking, just the chance to move and get my heart rate above 120 bpms. Thought about starting the second season of Cheer! — I watched the first during the winter of 2020 — but ended up watching another track race. Maybe next time I’ll start re-watching Dickinson? I’ve started listening to the awesome poetry podcast about the show, The Slave is Gone, and I’ve been wanting to return to ED’s poems, and read the book I bought earlier this year, My Emily Dickinson by Susan Howe. Too many projects, not enough time or energy. Oh well.

Marie Howe and the Moment

Yesterday, I posted 2 poems from Marie Howe, Part of Eve’s Discussion and The Meadow, and I mentioned a third that I had posted earlier in this year on July 19, “The Moment.” Here it is:

The Moment/ Marie Howe

Oh, the coming-out-of-nowhere moment

when, nothing


no what-have-I-to-do-today-list

maybe half a moment

the rush of traffic stops.

The whir of I should be, I should be, I should be

slows to silence,

the white cotton curtains hanging still.

This last line about the white curtains hanging still reminds me of an interview with Howe that I posted an excerpt from 3 days later. When asked about caring for her dying brother, she mentions a green, flapping shade:

 being with John when he was alive in those hours and days in his room with the green, flapping shade. Sitting by Johnny and just talking in those ways for those hours and all the particulars: the glass, the sandwich, the shade, the bedclothes, the cat, the summer heat outside pressing against the windows, the coolness in the air, the dim room. The peacefulness. The sounds of kids on bikes outside. For once there was nothing else going on but that. That’s the freedom of it, right? What’s more important? Nothing. So you’re actually living in time again.

and also this:

That was really a big deal. I was given this place to be without any expectations really. And everything changed so that the particulars of life—this white dish, the shadow of the bottle on it—everything mattered so much more to me. And I saw what happened in these spaces. You can never even say what happened, because what happened is rarely said, but it occurs among the glasses with water and lemon in them. And so you can’t say what happened but you can talk about the glasses or the lemon. And that something is in between all that.

Reading her words here, and thinking about the death of her brother, has helped me to enhance/shift my understanding of a few lines from “The Meadow”:

But in this world, where something is always listening, even
murmuring has meaning, as in the next room you moan

in your sleep, turning into late morning. My love, this might be
all we know of forgiveness, this small time when you can forget

what you are. 

I first wrote about these lines on july 13 and 14, 2020. In those entries, I talked a lot about the value of forgetting. To forget what you are and just be, without judgment, giving attention to the light and the breeze and a flapping, green shade.

a few more thoughts about moments:

In “Logic” Richard Siken writes the moment before something happening and sleeping and possibility. I don’t completely understand his words, but they reminded me of Howe’s words:

A hammer is a hammer when it hits the nail. 
A hammer is not a hammer when it is sleeping. I woke 
up tired of being the hammer. There’s a dream in the 
space between the hammer and the nail: the dream of
about-to-be-hit, which is a bad dream, but the nail will
take the hit if it gets to sleep inside the wood forever. 

Also, I keep thinking about a moment as not being a unit of time, but a location, that in-between space. And I’m also thinking of time outside the clock, which is a theme I’ve return to a lot, and that comes up in the bit of the poem I re-memorized yesterday:

Our clock is blind, our clock is dumb.
Its hands are broken, its fingers numb.
No time for the martyr of our fair town
Who wasn’t a witch because she could drown.

It’s also in the a few lines I wrote in my long poem, which I was calling “Haunts,” but am now thinking of it as “Girl Ghost Gorge”:

I slip through time’s tight
ticks to moments so
brief they’re like shudders,
but so generous
they might fit every-
thing left behind by