Thursday, December 18, 2008

The machine rattles and hums like it has a larger purpose in life, its function a part of the whole (the kitchen below, the restaurant's ventilation). Poetry was the first thing that anybody had told me I was good at, that I had a talent for and being in my last year of college having no idea what to do, I pursued it. People ask if I am still writing and I say of course, always. And this is true, but not as the center piece of my day.

I have to work, or rather, want to work in other capacities. The writers whose trajectories I find most appealing were all part-time in a sense: Wallace Stevens the insurance executive and George Oppen the labor organizer. Both had other lives that did not ever directly translate into poetry. Consummate outsiders, never fully beholden to either title, thereby creating a distance in which to write.

Free agents thus free to wander into any dream. The trouble with construction in the early morning is that it prevents free wandering into dreams. Seven thirty is when I first heard the jack hammers. They start early and work fluently until everyone else is awake, the language of breaking up concrete and tank tread.

Forrest asked, sincerely, do you like writing? I like the generation of words but don't like a work that translates into a kind of pyramid scheme: writing for relief, and this relief turning into something to sell. Pure innards, like pig intestines or a gutsy Academy Award winning performance, seem unsustainable in comparison to an on-going relationship with community. i.e. a dialogue with others, a role to play.

A bird landed on the fire escape and chirped in my direction. I looked for it; scanning the ledge and the rusty metal fire escape that climbs over the ledge, the bird frantically chirping over the rumble of machinery. As soon as I made eye contact, it flew away. Was it waiting to be seen? It seemed angry. Maybe it thought I was responsible for the noise and could put and end to it.

The sky is mostly clear, though the smell of construction wafts somewhere near. Unlike yesterday morning the noise is distant. It's possible they're just further down the street and instead, the peace is relative; a whole block or blocks of people experiencing what I did yesterday morning.