Arguing with N. again. Love fails like a recipe that wasn’t copied down right, some vital ingredient left out.
All that talk about differences, but in the middle of the night we both wake up, needing to pee.
I eat too much, talk too much, daydream too much about sex. I lament my age, my failing memory, yet act as if I’m going to live forever. But I came in through the front door and I’ll leave through the back, and no matter how I rearrange the furniture, no matter what I put on the walls, I can’t change that.
A generation of men, wrote Homer, is like a generation of leaves.
The story I told to everyone who would listen: women I loved so they would listen; men I paid so they would listen. I learned to get up before dawn, so I could tell it to the morning, which couldn’t talk back. I cornered the morning in darkness, made it mine — what a laugh. The morning that threw me like a young girl tossing back her hair; like death dismissing love’s excuses; like time that moves on, indifferent to how many alarms I do or don’t set.
My life an insult to what I know, to my philosophy of living.
Why this need to feel like a hero? What greater challenge is there than life itself? To incarnate as flesh; to forget who I really am; to struggle through the years to remember.
To regard my own life, no less than someone else’s, with profound courtesy.
So weary of my good intentions. They mill about, like animated guests at a party, chattering, laughing, full of opinions and grand designs.
The coffee maker growling like an old man. Like me!
John Schumacher: “I was reminded of a sentence from a yoga book I had read years ago. The minute you awoke in the morning, the author advised, you should get out of bed immediately and begin your practice. Now, this may not seem like earth-shattering information, but it had a tremendous effect on me. Instead of lying there in bed, feeling how warm and comfortable it was, how cold the room was, how good slipping back to sleep would feel, I began getting up right away. Not one thought other than, ‘I’m awake. Get up.’ ”
What I don’t earn in the morning, the night takes away. What I don’t make mine through hard work, the night — that thief — slips into its pocket, not batting an eye.
I was time’s slave, waiting for love to free me. I listened all night for a knock on the door.
The politics of pretending learned at an early age: how adept we become at giving speeches, and compromising, and wheeling and dealing our hearts away. (How many politicians, when they were four years old, wanted to become politicians?)
Everything falls to my secret power. I’m a wise ruler, make no promises, lie only to myself.
Kierkegaard said that thought without paradox is as foolish as love without passion.
The rack, the wheel, the stake. When we think of torture devices, do we think of sleek jet fighters?
Graham Greene: “The appalling strangeness of the mercy of God.”
The revolution rises on hope and song, like two people falling in love, like an affair that begins with such ardor, such enthusiasm, then turns rancorous and sour. Look at America, settled into a marriage of convenience.
What a task it is to govern myself, to speak to the tyrant in me, to the mob, to the slob who won’t get off his ass to vote.
He drank my coffee. He slept with my wife. Even in my dreams, he pretended to be me.
America, with its arm around the world. America, wanting to cop a feel. America, smiling innocently, hand moving toward the titty.
Yunus Emre: “You’ve veiled Yourself from the whole universe. At a single sight of You it would perish.”
Behind my courage and my mockery of courage, You wait for me.
Rilke: “Because inside human beings is where God learns.”
When I was a boy, he said, everyone got to be president. You were given your own country to govern, and your own nuclear weapons, and your own unbelievable deficit, and plenty of soft drinks and snacks. It was lonely sometimes. You couldn’t play on the White House lawn until after dark, and then only if you were quiet and promised not to start a war. You couldn’t make any new laws until you put away the old ones. You couldn’t have sex with your secretary in the Oval Office as long as anyone, anywhere in the country, was sad and needed you.
Rexroth said he wrote poems in order to overthrow the capitalist system and to seduce women, in that order.
Your beauty was broken down into images, and I went searching for You, in photographs, on movie screens, in the arms of women I loved. So many of You!
Was the time I spent with myself wasted? Did I mean the things I said? All that love promised in a moment of urgency, when I was hot for myself.
Defeated by the war I never fought, I tacked to the wall my posters, my promises. At night, to my wife, I talked of revolution. She looked at me, dark eyed and sad.
My mind feels unkempt, filled with abandoned things, old newspapers wrapped in string and turning yellow. What was I doing while all the smart people were getting smarter?
Waiting for my life to change; waiting for my life not to matter anymore; waiting for my life to become an address, that’s all, a miracle with a name and a number.
Nemerov: “Unspeakable, the distance in the mind.”
Your thought created me, as I create these words. You are in these thoughts — these naked thoughts that leap into words, like a man hurriedly throwing on some clothes against the chill night air. He leans out the window. You are in the air.