Hello Friday morning.

Difficult, always, to write true, accurate things about the present.  How blurry it is, how full of sounds.  Today, I come down on the School Is a Good Thing side of the fence, Marriage Is a Good Thing, Life Is.  October has something to do with it, this month that is sad because the season of growth is turning over into the season of waiting, of patience/inwardness, but stirring, too, because the season of waiting = life.  After all.  Waiting is what I’m used to, anyway, waiting for the Good Thing.  Waiting for the rest, or the epiphany that will come.  And it always does, so far.

You can say that waiting, exhaustion & suffering are life’s backdrop, or you can say perseverance and growth are.  You can also say they are “two sides of the same coin,” as everybody says now, anyways, whether they believe it or not.  Who knows.  I don’t know.  But I think they must be, because of weeks like this one.

Every day I come to the stadium with coffee at 7:30 or 8:00am.  See the sun squeaking up, feel the loss of it as I walk inside, the loss of moments of beauty that someone else will have and I will not have.  Since I have to finish a lesson plan at a formica desk, and my window faces due south.  By the time I leave my office, the sun is up and the peach dawn blush is gone.  There’s that.  And then—usually—I teach class.  These kids—usually—are cute, clever, and sweet.  I feel myself getting wiser and more confident as the semester ages, I realize that despite my decrepitness and tightly-wound inwardness and sometime-venom, I have some things to tell younger people that they can use.  That make them laugh, or that they are genuinely grateful for.

This morning after class, one student told me he was changing his paper topic to immigration reform, that as a Hispanic, he has had experiences he wants to write about, arguments he wants to make.  I said yes please do!  Personal experience is a powerful kind of evidence!  He said thank you twice, looked relieved, immensely grateful.  After a week in which I keep bursting into tears because I’m tired and the Good Thing I’m waiting for is always held back, back, this felt strange enough to also make me cry.

What is the Good Thing I’m waiting for?  After long months of waiting for that thing that will open the top of my head, let my brain see the sky itself, that will let me open up the case of my body and walk around in grass like I did as a kid (nothing about my body felt heavy, then, I ran away at will), I read some poetry by Adam Zagajewski, the internationally-renowned poet coming to read at UT on Halloween.  Here’s a poem by him that I read on the bus yesterday, lurching up Summit Hill toward Broadway:

In the Past
by Adam Zagajewski

In the past, we had faith in invisible
things, in shadows and their shadows,
in light—dark and pink as an eyelid.
Ah, the jaws of a camera bite images.
So now we can believe only
in the past, just as the poor past
used to believe in us, his great-grandchildren.
He dreamed that we would escape
from the trap which in every generation was set
by Danton and Robespierre, Beria and the other
ambitious disciples.  Because there is no refuge,
there is refuge.  Because invisible things
exist together with sounds
that no one hears.  There is consolation
and there is consolation, under
the elbow of desire, where pearls
would grow, if only tears had memories.
And yet a skater doesn’t lose his balance
pushing back from the precipice.  And the
dawn and the milkman get up early
and run through snow, leaving white traces,
soon filled with water.  A small bird
drinks that water and it sings and once more
it saves the disorder of things and you and me
and the singing.

Refuge, consolation.  This life is documenting for me the birds drinking melted snow, singing.  In a couple of hours, I’m going to teach my last class of the day, stumble through an ill-wrought lesson plan while an emissary from the Composition Office sits in a corner making notes about my performance on a rubric.  I’m being evaluated, and instead, I would rather be considering what consolation there is among the disorder of things.  There’s a point to be made, that someone will make (maybe me, on the way to the classroom), about finding that consolation within the classroom,

since these kids are experiencing the disorder, too.  And Carolyn (the emissary) is, too.

I do have faith in invisible things.  I do.

A train hums and whines past the stadium, blowing one hoot as it passes, filling my office with a symphonic cloud, one held major chord.

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