Ah, November! Ran through the neighborhood, past the kids playing outside at the church daycare, past the house that has a giant Packer’s flag hanging from their fence, past the window of the business where I watch myself run and wonder if the people inside are watching me watch myself, over the lake street bridge to the east side of the river. On the bridge, I passed a couple holding hands. A mile later, I passed another hand-holding couple. An unusual sighting, and twice. Ran up the long hill to the Monument, then beside the river until I reached the ford bridge. Stopped to take a picture on the bridge, then ran the rest of the way back with Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo.
- kids playing at the church daycare, several of them huddled at the fence, one of them (accidentally?) threw a ball over the side
- blue water, some waves, a few streaks or trails from something
- running above shadow falls, not sure if I was hearing it dripping or the wind through the trees
- running up the summit hill, a stretch of lit street lamps lining the path, the amber lights glowing softly
- noticing the gloom and the absence of my shadow as I ran around the ravine
- wondering if I would get to hear the St. Thomas bells as I ran close to campus (nope)
- chickadee dee dee
- turkeys! I’m not quite sure, but I think they were hanging out in the grass, just past the ford bridge, before you head down the hill to the locks and dam
- an unnaturally vibrant green on some of the leaves on the east side of the river — is this spring or late fall?
- an intense smell of cinnamon shortly before reaching the ford bridge — where was it coming from? someone’s gum? a bush?
before the run
Last night during Scott’s South High Community Jazz Band rehearsal, when I sit and listen and work on poetry, I returned to Susan Tichy’s North | Rock | Edge. Wow! This morning, before my run, I’m thinking about the lines I read and an interview Tichy did for Terrain.
There’s also a sensory excitement in a sea-rock-light-wind-bird-flower-seal-seep-peat-rain-salt—oh look, there’s a whale!—environment that subsumes attention to any one thing into the press of the whole.
I love how she describes the environment and her idea of attention to the whole, not just to any one thing.
Rock blurs the categories of time and space by making time visible and place temporal. A poem uses both rest and motion to create a form, which can be seen and must be heard—as the Susan Howe epigraph says, fleeting and fixed. These poems, like many in Avalanche Path, have a surface texture of fragmentation, abrupt change, and brokenness metamorphized into a new whole, voiced in present time, human time. Nothing is still; nothing is uniform.
And here’s a wonderful bit from the first part of Tichy’s poem, 60 North|Arriving, Stand Still:
& here wind
elevates to a theory
of time : to not miss a single
wave’s decay, a verse
of coast becoming dearth
of certainty, to undefine
the edge as noun, dissolving
in the not unyielding mouth
of cliff : verse/reverse
from the root of turn :
wind-wave & swell
compounded to a single
by the thing it breaks—
In the next section she offers this line, what place is not. The gorge as what place is not, or where place one was?
during the run
I think Tichy’s poem influenced my thoughts indirectly as I ran. I was thinking about a part of my Haunts poem I’m working on, particularly about how I am sometimes a girl, sometimes a ghost, and sometimes a gorge. Am I the gorge, I wondered as I started running. And as I ran over the lake street bridge I came up with an answer: yes. Later, when I reached to ford bridge, I stopped running to record some thoughts:
I am the gorge because the gorge is the remains, what is left behind, what continues to exist even as ground erodes, self erodes, vision erodes. The gorge, constantly shifting, but always there. The gorge is the eroded. Is the ghost the verb, the eroding? … I am also the gorge because I’m constantly leaving part of myself here and becoming this place and not just moving through the place, becoming the place.