1.  Since I need to have a polished syllabus, grade breakdown, rubrics, and assignments all in order by Tuesday, I have been coming to campus early to work on them.  Hodges library is large, quiet, filled with a satisfaction of books, and the windows I come to sit underneath at 7:30am look out over the stadium and the blue ridges beyond the river.  I can see a glinting vein of cars running over James White Parkway bridge and into South Knoxville trees.  I used to live there.

2.  But obviously I can’t do work this morning, when the view & quietness are similar but the thought-pressure in my head is so different.  Clearly—!

3.  Marshall and I watched Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line with Mark and Elizabeth, last night.  It’s an honest representation of the human condition.  Therefore, it moved me.  Here is the first line: “What’s this war in the heart of nature?”  The older I get, the more I understand, and the less I understand.  I’m now more comforted than ever that very old and wise people don’t know the answer to this question … and it is also more disturbing than ever.  What is this war in the heart of nature?  Which is to say, in my own heart?

4.  More than ever, I want to be a person who creates peace, or makes peace possible.  And it’s incredibly depressing that I must begin with intervention in my own inner wars.  This morning, especially, I feel there are some Werner Herzog jungles in there.  Some Col. Tall jungles.

5.  For instance, when is it that one gets the hang of marriage?  So many people have said “the first year is the hardest,” so I was hoping June 26, 2012, would be a heavy, creaking oak door with crystal doorknob opening slowly into the Sea of Tranquility.  But the more interesting question, here, is: why do I always expect things to be simple?  And easy?  Also, why do I still want them to be?  I thought I was, like, more grown-up than that.  Seriously I thought I was growing up.  I thought I really believed Rilke when he said, “they are difficult things with which we have been charged; almost everything serious is difficult, and everything is serious.”

6.  Furthermore, on the vocational front, what the hell does a poet do these days, anyway?  Ought I to try to get published again, or is that kind of degrading?  About one out of every sixteen million people reads poetry, anyway, and mostly they just read stuff by poets they already know they like.  Right?  I honestly cannot think of anything I have ever written that is helpful enough to the human race that it should be emailed to a billion different literary journals so that it can get published in one.  And get 999,999,999 rejections.  I think that math is right.  There are days when I can reduce this pessimistic self into a pile of dust and then vacuum it up with one stroke.  But today: Herzog jungles.

7.  Instead of working, this morning, I think I just want to read random books.  Like, find one on ovarian cancers, and one on Cezanne, and one on Franz Wright.  And one on habits of highly successful people.  NAHH.  Nah.  Maybe one on grasses native to East Tennessee.  And sheepfarming versus goatfarming.  And whether the entire world will be destroyed by kudzu, or only Southern America.

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