walk: 20 minutes
around the block with Delia
light rain with snow coming later
A chance for 6-10 inches of snow later tonight. Before that, rain and thunderstorms. Maybe the snow won’t come? Decided to take Delia out for a quick walk before the rain began falling more heavily. The boulevards are still buried in walls of gray, cratered snow, but the alley is finally clear and our backyard is as much mud as it is snow.
run: 3.15 miles
north/lake street bridge/south
A few hours after my walk. Wasn’t planning to run, but when it stopped raining, I decided this was my chance before the paths are covered in snow and ice again. As always, I’m glad I decided to go. Everything was wet and windy. Big puddles, little puddles, deep puddles. The river seemed to be preparing itself for more weather. Noticed a few runners and walkers, but not too many.
Saw orange everywhere. Orange signs, orange construction cones, dead orange leaves.
Heard the wind, my headphones case banging around in my zipped purple pocket, cars. Smelled smoke from a fireplace. Noticed another new house going up. Soon, the neighborhood will be overrun with the same stupid over-sized houses on every block. Boo.
Near the end of the run, I thought about orange and a phrase popped into my head: keep orbiting around the orange, which means: when you can’t, like me, see the orange, look for what’s happening around where it should be. Is there movement, people acting oddly, anything unusual near a spot where you think orange is? This orbiting works on a literal level, but it’s also more. One thing poetry is about is orbiting things that you can’t quite find the words to describe or pin down with meaning. Becoming obsessed with them. Writing around them again and again. This reminded me of the Frank O’Hara poem about orange, “Why I Am Not a Painter,” and the lines:
One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven’t mentioned
orange yet. It’s twelve poems, I call
A possible title for my poem: Orange, an ars poetica Excellent!
A. R. Ammons
Yesterday, i found, read, and posted a wonderful poem by Elizabeth Bishop, “The End of March,” which reminded me of some lines from an A. R. Ammons poem, “Corsons Inlet,” that I’ve admired for some time. So today I’ve started spending some more time with Ammons. I just ordered his 1993 long poem, Garbage, and re-read a New Yorker article that I first read when it came out in 2017. The title of the article, “The Great American Poet of Daily Chores,” makes me think of James Schuyler and all his talk of laundry and yard work and washing dishes in “Hymn to Life.”
A book of Ammons that I haven’t ordered yet, but I might, is The Really Short Poems of A. R. Ammons. Here’s a few poems from it that I especially like:
Weathering/ A. R. Ammons
A day without rain is like
a day without sunshine.
Mirrorment/ A. R. Ammons
Birds are flowers flying
and flowers perched birds.
Equilibrium/ A. R. Ammons
If you walk back
through a puddle pretty
you wet the whole
driveway but of
the puddle up.
And here are two Ammons’ poems I found in the New Yorker article:
Project/ A. R. Ammons
still the wind still
nevertheless should I
presume it not
I’d be compelled
how the honeysuckle bushlimbs
Love how the line breaks — still the wind still. Also, the strange idea of proving the invisible wind’s existence, which made me think of a poem I’m writing about orange and my faith in it, even though I rarely see it. This faith — an orange faith — is different than a belief in the wind. The wind is invisible to everyone, but most people can see orange, don’t need to believe in it the way I do. And the evidence I have for orange’s existence is less straightforward than evidence of the wind. These lines perhaps only make sense to me right now, but they’re a start of something interesting.
Poetics/ A. R. Ammons
I look for the way
things will turn
out spiraling from a center,
things will take to come forth in
so that the birch tree white
touched black at branches
will stand out
totally its apparent self:
I look for the forms
things want to come as
from what black wells of possibility,
how a thing will
not the shape on paper — though
that, too — but the
uninterfering means on paper:
not so much looking for the shape
as being available
to any shape that may be
from the self not mine but ours.
Wind-glittering, possibility, being available to any shape summoning itself. Love these ideas!