Sunday, January 26, 2014

This apartment has been so cold lately. It's lovely the other three seasons but when the temperature falls below 20, draftiness begins to constrict functionality. I have to close doors, cover windows, wear blankets, and stay close to the heater. Jinx has been camping out under the bed, where I put another little space heater, and when the covers are draped over the side, makes a little hot box / sauna that he hangs out in most of the day.
Come tomorrow morning it's supposed to drop below zero by six or seven AM, and if you include wind chill, negative 25 or or something, I'm wondering if they're going to cancel school. This possibility seems unlikely because last week, with MLK day, a half day on Tuesday because of the shooting, and all of Wednesday off (to give everyone a moment to catch their breath); it seems unlikely that the powers that be will offer any more days off. Productivity cuts you know? We have to keep things rolling or else the terrorists win. Last night I went and saw the Bucky Badgers play the Purdue Boilermakers, and the Badgers beat them pretty handily. I felt guilty, like it was one more crappy thing that happened last week at Purdue. There were school shootings in Pennsylvania and South Carolina last week as well. Of course what happened at Purdue was not classified as a school shooting, but as a "violent crime" or a "homicide." Categories that make us feel a little bit safer, I guess, but give the impression that there is no institutional connection to this violence. 

In my composition class on Thursday we talked about it, and my students were a little freaked out. There was a vigil on Tuesday evening and a press conference. The school newspaper has been writing stories about the student's reactions. I learned from a professor that the shooter attended a linguistics class and hour and a half previous to his actions. Amongst us teachers we've been discussing what to do in the future, the old barricade the door and turn off the lights trick. Logistically everything has been backed up, but along these same lines, it doesn't seem all that important to try and catch up. That we, students and teachers both, can take our time and get done what we needs to get done when we get to it. It was a strange week last week, and whatever haze we slipped into seems bound to continue. I have a feeling that when the cold goes back to wherever cold comes from we'll begin to unwind from all this. 

Mozart, 1935

Poet, be seated at the piano.
Play the present, its hoo-hoo-hoo,
Its shoo-shoo-shoo, its ric-a-nic,
Its envious cachinnation.

If they throw stones upon the roof
While you practice arepeggios,
It is because they carry down the stairs
A body in rags.
Be seated at the piano.

That lucid souvenier of the past,
The divertimento;
That airy dream of the future,
The unclodued concerto...
The snow is falling.
Strike the piercing chord.

Be thou the voice,
Not you. Be thou, be thou
The voice of angry fear,
The voice of this besieging pain.

Be thou that wintry sound
As of the great wind howling,
By which sorrow is released,
Dismissed, absolved
In a starry placating.

We may return to Mozart.
He was young, and we, we are old.
The snow is falling
And the streets are full of cries.
Be seated, thou.

                        -Wallace Stevens