"A friend asked yesterday if this blog is addressed to anyone in particular? I said yes– it’s a love letter to someone I haven’t met yet."
"She told him about the morning she drove to work and by some miracle, had made it through five green traffic lights in a row. He immediately nodded like he understood and said "smallicious." When she shook her head that she didn't understand what he meant, he explained it was his made up word for the small but delicious things that happen to us in life every so often--like catching five green traffic lights in a row. "To me, delicious is a big word-- whenever I think of something delicious it fills my mind. But small is...small. So you have those two words that mean opposite things and they meet somewhere in the middle."
from a new short story to be published in the spring by 'Conjunctions' Magazine
Everyone in the neighborhood knew the "hotel" on the corner was really a bordello but it fell on hard times and for years you rarely saw anyone go in or out. Finally the hotel closed and the building stood empty for a very long time. A developer bought it and at considerable expense turned it into private apartments. All except for the ground floor which was advertised as commercial space. Although the apartments were quickly snapped up, the ground floor remained unrented. Only recently, two years after the renovations, did someone take it. People kept wondering what would finally go in there-- a restaurant? A market, maybe? Two days ago signs were posted in all the windows for the new business-- a sex toy store for women. I don't know whether to say now 'Old habits die hard' or you can't teach an old hotel new tricks.
"The best moments in reading are when you come across something-- a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things-- that you'd thought special... particular to you. And here it is... set down by someone else, a person you've never met. Maybe even someone long dead. And it's as if a hand has come out... and taken yours."
Alan Bennett, THE HISTORY BOYS
from the novelist David Long's blog at Amazon.com:
I'm thinking about a really basic question: Why do we read a novel?
Is it for story? Of course. We're always leaning forward as we read, wanting to see what comes next. We care how things play out. As the pace of events accelerates, we get caught up in the excitement. Suspense, then revelation. Very basic.
But sometimes I find myself reading too fast, flipping pages like a madman. Then I get to the end and I feel--what? Drained, in a good way, sometimes. Other times, it's more like the dull, empty feeling that follows a sugar high. A day later I remember reading frantically, but little else.
If I can make a distinction: Some movies you don't want to see again because you know the ending. There's no point to watching again; getting to the ending was everything.
Others, you can see again (and again) because even though you know how things come out, you love just being inside their world. Chinatown is one of these for me. A suspense film, but there's so much beyond suspense that gives me pleasure--characters that stick in my mind's eye, tiny details of action, the re-creation of 1930s Los Angeles, Robert Towne's crisp smart dialog, the central image of water and how it leads to moral, political, and ecological questions, and, well, the whole texture of the thing.
So, getting back to novels: I like a good plot (and don't much care for meandering self-indulgent shapeless books). But plot's just one element. I love working my way down each page, hearing the voice of the sentences--and it's a thrill better than plot-thrill when the voice is one-of-a-kind, when I know that I'm going to get sentences no one's ever written before--quirky, potent word combinations; leaps of logic; omissions of the obvious; attitude. I love the danger that comes from knowing that a certain writer can say anything in the next sentence. I love being taken out of myself and spending time in the company of the mind behind a really good novel.
"To me, poetry is somebody standing up, so to speak, and saying, with as little concealment as possible, what it is for him or her to be on earth at this moment."
It's always sad and eerie late at night to see an ambulance parked in front of a building. All those flashing bright lights at that quiet sleeping hour. Inside one of the apartments you know there's a flurry of activity and so much fear... As I approach this ambulance on my way home, the door to the building swings open and a wheelchair appears. Sitting in it is a middle aged man but he is laughing. So are the two paramedics who accompany him. All three men look like they're having the greatest time. As they're putting him into the ambulance one of them says something I cannot hear and they all start laughing even more loudly.
a nice one from DL:
On Turning Ten
by Billy Collins
The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.
You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.
But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.
This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.
It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.
and from KM:
In the silent, almost-empty cafe music begins to play. The few of us who are here all look up in surprise because not only is it music, loud music, it is Tom Jones singing "Sex Bomb." Who would have the audacity to listen to THAT in this place of quiet chats and magazine reading? We look around at each other but there's no evidence any of us is the guilty party. One very old woman in a corner is reading a newspaper. I have no idea how old she is, but she has to be way up there. Slowly lifting her head from the newspaper, she looks around as if someone just tapped her on the shoulder. Reaching into her large purse she lifts out a cellphone which is loudly playing over and over "Sex Bomb, Sex Bomb, you're my sex bomb." Carefully pressing a button on the phone, she says into it "Hello?"
One of those moments where you see something, it takes seconds to register in your brain what you've just seen, and by the time you look back again in wonder, it's gone. A woman is running hard to catch a bus. Cradled in one arm tucked close to her body is an infant. She's holding the baby exactly the same way a fullback in American football carries the ball when he is running for yardage. By the time I say out loud "What the hell?" and look again, I see only her last leg stepping up into the bus and the doors whooshing shut. Touchdown!
interesting word/ meaning:
and a nice one from ON:
The door opens and in walks one of those people who speak IN CAPITAL LETTERS. Everything they say is loud, most sentences they speak end either with an exclamation mark or a laugh that booms or barks. This man is a taxi driver who's come in to the shop to pick up an order. Before he arrived, the women behind the counter were talking quietly to each other, waiting for customers. This guy walks in, thunders GOOD DAY! and announces at the top of his lungs (or so it seems) that he's here TO PICK UP THE ORDER FOR KREPLER. It's almost impossible to ignore these bullhorn people but it's kind of fun to watch them if they're around for a short time. Judging by the way he moves and acts, I wonder if this man is even aware that he does everything at top volume. He's probably been this way all his life and when he speaks, people sure pay attention. Does he live with a silent mousy woman who never says anything? Or does he live with another CAPITAL LETTER person-- someone as loud as he is? If so, who usually wins arguments between them?
from the NY Times (from BW)
"In an interview at the Macworld Expo last week, Steve Jobs was blunt when asked about the Kindle electronic book reader from Amazon.com, which many have called the most promising device of its kind. Mr. Jobs said it would go nowhere, largely because Americans have stopped reading. 'It doesn't matter how good or bad the product is; the fact is that people don't read anymore,' he said. 'forty percent of the people in the u.s. read one book or less last year.' "
by Billy Collins
The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.
No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly--
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.
I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that's what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.
She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim,
and I , in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.
Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift--not the worn truth
that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.
"Life is always a tightrope or a feather bed. Give me the tightrope."
The (highly-unofficial) Marine Corps Rules for Gunfights are tacked to the wall at a Marine outpost in the Iraqi town of Anoh in the Euphrates River Valley. Among the rules:
1. Have a plan.
2. Have a backup plan because the first plan won't work.
3. The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.
4. Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.
from 'Babylon and Beyond' blog at LA Times
I had a conversation with someone where we were comparing our scariest experiences. He said, "Mine was the time I hit a woman with my car." That topped my scary by a mile and I asked for the story. He said the details weren't interesting, but the aftermath was. He had been driving down the street, she darted out between parked cars-- BAM. They took the woman to the hospital in bad shape. The man and his wife visited her every day, terrified she would die, and then when she began to improve, terrified that she would sue him. Lawyers assured him even if she did, it was not likely he would be found guilty because she was jaywalking, but still... One day when she was almost well again, the man asked if she intended to sue. She said, "I won't do anything like that if you do something for me. Go to the store and buy me a giant size box of Snickers candy bars. The biggest box they have. If you get them for me, we'll call it even and you'll never hear from me again." He did it, and he didn't.
Out of the morning dark something is coming this way. Lit by the light of a store window, you see it's a man in a wheelchair moving very fast. He's wearing a big smile as his arms push the silver wheels as hard as he can. Running along next to him unleashed and smiling just as much is a large black Labrador retriever. It looks like the two of them are having a race and the dog, obviously much faster, is letting the man keep up just because it's so much more fun running together.
Yahoo article yesterday
LONDON (Reuters) - Bad news for Coco and Blinko -- children don't like clowns and even older kids are scared of them.
News that will no doubt have clowns shedding tears was revealed in a poll of youngsters by researchers from the University of Sheffield who were examining how to improve the decor of hospital children's wards.
The study, reported in the Nursing Standard magazine, found all the 250 patients aged between four and 16 they quizzed disliked the use of clowns, with even the older ones finding them scary.
"As adults we make assumptions about what works for children," said Penny Curtis, a senior lecturer in research at the university.
"We found that clowns are universally disliked by children. Some found them quite frightening and unknowable."
Coming towards me is a ravaged junkie. One of those young dirt-covered, head nodding, eyes half-closed, wobbly-walking sad cases who you can pretty much bet will either be dead or in a hospital before the year is out. Someone I know calls them '4th Dimension People' because they don't really live here anymore. They're somewhere else-- sort of alive, sort of dead, sort of in a 4th dimension someplace we earth inhabitants have never been or experienced. I start to walk a wide arc around him as he approaches. But when we pass each other, I suddenly smell the most wonderful cologne. I've never smelled such an aroma before. It's delicious, mysterious, beautiful and there is no question that he is wearing it.
In Praise of Dreams
by Wislawa Szymborska
In my dreams
I paint like Vermeer van Delft.
I speak fluent Greek
and not only with the living.
I drive a car
which obeys me.
I am talented
I write long, great poems.
I hear voices
no less than the major saints.
You would be amazed
at my virtuosity on the piano.
I float through the air as is proper,
that is, all by myself.
Falling from the roof
I can softly land on green grass.
I don't find it hard
to breathe under water.
I can't complain:
I've succeeded in discovering Atlantis.
I'm delighted that just before dying
I always manage to wake.
Right after the outbreak of war
I turn over on my favorite side.
I am but I need not
be a child of my time.
A few years ago
I saw two suns.
And the day before yesterday a penguin.
With the utmost clarity.
A Color of the Sky
by Tony Hoagland
Windy today and I feel less than brilliant,
driving over the hills from work.
There are the dark parts on the road
when you pass through clumps of wood
and the bright spots where you have a view of the ocean,
but that doesn't make the road an allegory.
I should call Marie and apologize
for being so boring at dinner last night,
but can I really promise not to be that way again?
And anyway, I'd rather watch the trees, tossing
in what certainly looks like sexual arousal.
Otherwise it's spring, and everything looks frail;
the sky is baby blue, and the just-unfurling leaves
are full of infant chlorophyll,
the very tint of inexperience.
Last summer's song is making a comeback on the radio,
and on the highway overpass,
the only metaphysical vandal in America has written
MEMORY LOVES TIME
in big black spraypaint letters,
which makes us wonder if Time loves Memory back.
Last night I dreamed of X again.
She's like a stain on my subconscious sheets.
Years ago she penetrated me
but though I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed,
I never got her out,
but now I'm glad.
What I thought was an end turned out to be a middle.
What I thought was a brick wall turned out to be a tunnel.
What I thought was an injustice
turned out to be a color of the sky.
Outside the youth center, between the liquor store
and the police station,
a little dogwood tree is losing its mind;
overflowing with blossomfoam,
like a sudsy mug of beer;
like a bride ripping off her clothes,
dropping snow white petals to the ground in clouds,
so Nature's wastefulness seems quietly obscene.
It's been doing that all week:
and throwing it away,
and making more.
People are always asking what's your favorite book, movie, record... Few I know can answer that question without long qualifying explanations, or even give a top five favorites list. There are just too many, especially if you read a lot and have done so most of your life. What we loved at fifteen is rarely what we love now. Minds change. Moods change. Tastes change. Perhaps a better question would be what book (movie, record) changed your life? Not necessarily in a profound, "now-I'm-going-to-drop-everything-and-join-a-monastery" way, but after reading that book your world was very different and would always remain so because of the experience. I remember reading THE CATCHER IN THE RYE the first time and growing goggle-eyed that characters IN A BOOK thought and spoke that way. Yeah they did it in real life, but never in a BOOK. Before reading that novel, books were dry lifeless things you were forced to read in class and then tested on. When Holden Caulfield said he wanted to go around erasing all the "fuck you's" off the walls of the world, I gasped and gripped, read on in a passion. Or watching Death and the knight play chess in the film THE SEVENTH SEAL. Or hearing The Beatles' SERGEANT PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND for the first few times. If you asked me what books changed my life I wouldn't have to think long before answering.
Which would be a better place to work-- a bakery or a flower shop? Have you noticed that people walking out of those stores are often smiling? Probably because both places sell happiness you can hold in your hand. Two small nice things in every day life-- a fresh loaf of bread, still warm and aromatic when it is handed to you over the counter. Or a bouquet of your favorite flowers. As you're walking home you think where should I put them this time? Say they are roses, lilacs, or Star Gazer lilies. Should they be in the bedroom where they'll fill up the space with their strong perfume and I can see them as soon as I wake up in the morning? Or somewhere in the living room where their scent will be less powerful, more like a sexy whisper; a small kiss on your nose. Bakery or Flower shop?
I don't play chess but I really like the Chess Club. Housed in a store that used to sell mirrors and window glass, the Club's display windows are full of different wood and stone chess sets for sale as well as faded, curling pamphlets and sun bleached books with wonderfully obscure arcane titles like "Gefonoff's Thrumble Openings and Counters." The windows are half frosted but you can see into the place which, like a vampire, only comes alive after dark. The store is around the corner from my building. Having walked by it for years, I don't think I've seen customers inside there during the day more than two or three times. But at night the place is cooking. One room has been set aside for playing the game and on the evenings the club stays open, all the tables are filled. Surrounding them are a wide variety of zealous observers and kibitzers who hang over the players like Snoopy the dog pretending to be a vulture in the PEANUTS cartoon. Some in this audience are rubbing their chins thoughtfully, others have their hands in their pockets, some simply can't stand still and go up and down on their toes as they watch. You get the feeling they'd like to pounce on the board and play both sides at once, if they were given the chance. Everyone's attention is on the games. All the mental energy focused on those chess boards could boil an egg if you could somehow harness it. Last night was cold and misty. I walked by around nine and as usual, the room was full. For the first time as I passed, one of the spectators looked up and our eyes met. Then a player moved a piece on the board and my man snapped his eyes away from mine back to more important things.
"The real director of our life is accident-- a director full of cruelty, compassion, and bewitching charm."
ON sent this clip, saying in her accompanying note "For some bizarre reason, I find this unbearably sweet." I agree. A good one to start off the new year too.
A Case Of You
by Joni Mitchell
Just before our love got lost you said
"I am as constant as a northern star"
And I said "Constantly in the darkness
Where's that at?
If you want me I'll be in the bar."
On the back of a cartoon coaster
In the blue TV screen light
I drew a map of Canada
With your face sketched on it twice
Oh you're in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you darling
Still I'd be on my feet
oh I would still be on my feet
Oh I am a lonely painter
I live in a box of paints
I'm frightened by the devil
And I'm drawn to those ones that ain't afraid
I remember that time you told me you said
"Love is touching souls"
Surely you touched mine
'Cause part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time
Oh, you're in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet
Oh I could drink a case of you darling
And I would still be on my feet
I would still be on my feet
I met a woman
She had a mouth like yours
She knew your life
She knew your devils and your deeds
And she said
"Go to him, stay with him if you can
But be prepared to bleed"
Oh but you are in my blood
You're my holy wine
You're so bitter, bitter and so sweet
Oh, I could drink a case of you darling
Still I'd be on my feet
I would still be on my feet
I am not interested in writing that isn't obsessive. Who is? We're all drama queens in the end. We all come to stories with two basic questions: Who do I care about? And What do they care about? As long as our hero, or heroine, cares deeply about something (i.e. is obsessed), and as long as they're willing to tell us their own twisted version of the truth, we'll come along for the ride.
But look: our best art implicates us. It induces us to experience the intensity of feeling that is absent from the rest of our lives. It unleashes the closet obsessive in all of us.
I used to spend hours trying to explain this to my students at Boston College, who were forever confusing emotional evasion with literary restraint. To the stubborn ones, I often issued an order that I received years ago, from an elderly writer who had suffered my own wretched early burps of prose. The only thing that matters is the thing you can't stop thinking about, he told me. Dress it up how ever you like, son, but tell me the goddamn truth.
It wasn't all that easy
When you upped and walked away
But I'll save that little story
For another rainy day
I know the burden's heavy
As you wheel it through the night
The guru says it's empty
But that doesn't mean it's light.
So let's drink to when it's over
And let's drink to when we meet
I'll be waiting on this corner
Where there used to be a street
from Leonard Cohen's THE STREET
Isabel Allende gives a smart, funny talk to the TED group:
Years ago we became friendly when our puppies played together in the park. 'Nike' was a huge mutt twice as big as mine. It looked like a combination of Great Dane and some kind of Retriever. But despite its size, the big goof was always gentle and careful when it played with other dogs, never using either its size or strength to overwhelm them. It was an endearing quality. I liked both dog and owner very much and was always glad to see them. But as it grew, Nike became more and more aggressive. Eventually whenever I encountered it, it would growl and act like it wanted to pounce. The owner stopped bringing it to the park and when I saw them on the street now and then, the dog was always being held on a thick leash and wearing a muzzle around its large mouth. I never understood how such a good natured puppy could turn into a beast. Particularly because the owner seemed to be a really nice man who was always very laid back, talked a lot in a calm amused voice, and liked to laugh. He would often be eating and whatever it was, he always shared it with his dog which sat patiently and with perfect manners at his feet. I haven't seen them for several years. Yesterday I went into one of those giant chain clothing stores and there was Nike's owner behind the counter working the cash register. The store was busy with its after-holiday sale but even with that additional stress, the man was unbelievably unpleasant to everyone. It was so surprising that I stood in a corner for a few minutes just to watch him work. He was rude, unhelpful, and impatient with both customers and fellow workers. It almost looked like he was consciously trying to make things difficult. It was hard to believe that this shithead was the same nice guy I'd talked to a hundred times in the park. I remembered Nike the sweet puppy who transformed gradually into a devil dog. Now it was clear why that had happened.
There are no incomprehensible women-- only ignorant men.
Love is that short period of time when a person of the opposite sex holds the same opinion of us as we do of ourselves.
In old age a man resembles a retired actor who sits in the auditorium glumly watching others playing his favorite roles.
Every man thinks himself a great actor who deserves a wider audience-- one woman is not enough.
The kiss was invented by men to finally shut women up.
aphorisms by Magdalena Samozwaniec
Basil Rathbone's Ghosts
Basil Rathbone was entertaining a friend one night at his home in the Hollywood Hills. Both men were keenly interested in dogs and their breeding. His friend had brought with him two handsome specimens. As it got late, the two friends had a parting drink and called it a night. The friend and the canines got into the car and drove away. But, sadly, not very far.
As Rathbone turned to go back inside, he heard the screech of brakes and the sickening sounds of a ghastly car crash. His friend and the dogs were killed instantly.
In deep shock, and with the thought, 'He was just standing here,' pounding in his aching head, Rathbone heard the damned phone begin ringing. Mechanically he picked it up and heard the voice of the MGM studio's night switchboard operator. 'Sorry, Mr. Rathbone but I have a woman on the line who simply must talk to you. She says it is desperately, desperately important.' Probably some smitten fan, he thought as the operator said, 'Sir, I have never heard anyone be so urgent. She hopes you will know what a certain message means.'
Rathbone, impatient and in a daze, snapped, 'For Christs sake, put her on and be done with it!' The woman was calling from her home, located way to hell and gone on the far side of Los Angeles. She had a low and cultivated speaking voice and identified herself as a trance medium and clairvoyant. At that time the movie colony was going through one of its periodic infatuations with psychics, astrologers, table-tipping seances, Ouija boards and such. Rathbone scorned all such claptrap, but, he said, 'the woman's voice was so compelling.'
'I have for you, sir, what we term "a calling of urgency," she said. 'It came to me with such impact that, although not knowing its meaning, I simply had to find you. The message is brief. Here it is in its entirety: "Traveling very fast. No time to say good-bye." And then, "There are no dogs here."
The next time I saw Rathbone, more years had gone by, and he was in the act of receiving a summons for letting his dog Ginger off the leash in Central Park. I thought he might have decided, looking back, that it had all been some sort of bizarre coincidence, or maybe a highly original prank. He said, 'At the time, of course, I was quite shaken by it.' And now? 'I am still shaken by it.'
Dick Cavett, The New York Times
We were talking about a couple that recently announced their engagement. They've been together a few years and are very much in love. Although the woman is four or five years older than the man, they attended the same school. Something about this made me smile. I said imagine back when they were both students-- he in the 7th grade, she in the 12th. She's very good looking and always been the kind of woman who makes men stare. Imagine some time back in their school days going to that 13 year old boy and pointing to the beautiful girl in the senior class who owns every male heart in the place. Say to him one day you will marry her. One day not very long from now that princess will love you so much that she'll shout yes when you ask if she'd like to spend the rest of her life with you.
An unusual Croatian exhibition is traveling around Europe. 'The Museum of Broken Relationships' is the name of the exhibition that has already visited Bosnia Herzegovina, Slovakia and Germany. The museum was a hit in 2007. Anyone can visit the exhibition and bring any things relevant to ex-relationships and ex-partners. It doesn't matter if it was a long-term marriage that ended in a painful divorce or just a short hot affair. The main point of the exhibit is to get rid of these painful reminders in a public way. Therapists say that the idea is also good from a psychological point of view. They explain that giving away things that remind us of our ex-partners is the first step towards ridding the heart of its pain and a way of doing something creative with it. One of the objects on exhibit is an ax. We can read that it was left by a deserted lover, who had used it to destroy furniture that belonged to her ex-girlfriend. "The more broken wood was in the room the better I felt" - explained the girl. Everything in the museum has a short explanation of its history and meaning. Another odd thing in the museum is a prosthesis left by an invalid after the end of a relationship with a physiotherapist. There is a scooter on which some couple wanted to tour Italy. They argued and broke up just before leaving. You can also find there underwear, pens, Cd's, clothes, love letters, etc. My favorite is a wedding dress. The note under it was a question: "Can I take it back when I'm going to need it again?"
by James DenBoer
Nothing goes on in his head.
It all goes on in his glands,
his muscles, his nose.
He chases every squirrel
every time he sees one,
barks and lunges at every cat;
he'd eat every bit of garbage
on the road if I didn't snap his lead hard.
He doesn't care in a way I can't.
He doesn't confuse past with present;
his only language is what's now
and under his black pads.
He's the perfect one, in fact,
to talk with, in the rain and wind
of January, when winter needs talking to
and writing down to bone-cold.
As with the many names of God,
I repeat his name often-he doesn't know
my name, he doesn't know this
is winter, he doesn't know
he could kill me with those teeth.
He listens to my chatter, my hum,
my chikk-chikk like a squirrel;
my noises keep him interested
and unworried. He scribbles
along the scent of air, his nails click
on wet black stones, he pulls his way
toward red lights on Fair Oaks Avenue,
he leads me back to start.