This afternoon, while sitting in traffic and brooding, I began to think about how I used to be spontaneous. Weekend trips, camping, improvised parties and what not. I’d pick up and go. I’d go and see. I’d see and learn. Lately, that hasn’t really been happening and I think it has quite a bit to do with my foul mood (trust me on this one). There’s something very terminal about the mundane. I hate that feeling, I really do. Factor in my dreamy nature and need to move around in hazy waves and well… eh.
Today I drove a total of 84 miles: home, school, work. Work, school, tutor, home.
Only, I didn’t make it to the tutor, because it took me an hour and a half to go NINETEEN miles. From point B, I had to get to point C, which was maybe 9 miles. Didn’t happen. So instead of going to the tutor, I took MD and we went to the coffee shop. He studied, I worked on my doodle and on our way out, I grabbed the latest copy of Creative Loafing.
I tossed the newspaper in my bag.
When I got out of my car in the garage, it fell on the floor and I kicked it, picked it back up and tucked it under my arm.
After climbing the steps into the kitchen, I flung it on the counter.
It wasn’t until after supper, that my brother in law picked it up and mentioned something about the cover. Food, how to shop like a chef, local local, blah blah blah.
I carried it off into the living room and while taking a break from reading J.Edgar Hoover’s book Masters of Deceit (an original copy I picked up for a buck), I opened the newspaper. Thumbed through a couple pages, put my glasses back on, thumbed to the back to see if any cool bands were playing.
Instead I saw under the BOOK section that Billy Collins is coming to Atlanta.
Well, son of a bitch.
Tomorrow?! How could this be? America’s best known/loved poet, here? TOMORROW?
I took a couple deep breaths.
Then I ran into the kitchen, paper in hand and said, “Not to get all fangirl on yall, but BILLY COLLINS is going to be downtown tomorrow! BILLY FUCKING COLLINS!”
My husband did play along, bless him. He tried to be excited, I know. When he asked who Billy Collins was, I said, “Don’t you remember that time we went to the bookstore and when you said you wanted to read some poems and I pulled his book off the shelf and I asked you to read Dharma?And you did? And then you said, ‘I just don’t get poetry. What’s the point?” That’s Billy Collins!
He didn’t remember, but I did.
Because there really isn’t a point, is there?
Poets write for themselves. We don’t write for you, for them, for us, for anyone. Those words and sentences come into our minds so fast, so feverishly, that at times, there is no recollection of it happening at all. It’s like confession. I once asked my priest how he handled hearing everyone’s sins minute after minute, hour after hour, day by day. How could he carry that? He simply said that just as God gives him the ability to forgive sins, so he also gives the ability to wipe his mind clean. Like it happened, but he won’t remember.
That’s how poetry works for me. Like confession. I know it happened, but I don’t recall. Even when I go back and read something that I wrote six months ago, I can’t quite recall what was so painful or magnificent. I can, but I can’t.
Billy Collins is coming tomorrow.
This is one of those HOLY SHIT moments in life. The kind where you think, ‘If I go, I’ll be sitting in traffic, lost in the city, $38 poorer and I probably won’t get home till late…’ and within a blink of an eye, you say, “What the hell. I’m going for it.”