Tuesday, January 13, 2009

episodic reading

the weather the past couple of days, and also forecast for most of this week, is rather spring-like, or like late fall. the daytime high hovers near the mid to high 60s and it is clear and sunny. the light is changing as one would expect it would after the winter solstice and the light increases incrementally as we move toward spring. it is gorgeous and one would have to be a serious grump not to love life in this midst. however, we need rain and lots of it. this is the third year in a row with very little rain and we face the dire prospect of a drought. how much i do enjoy this weather but i know that my pleasure is tempered by the stark facts of scarcity.

is that life in a nutshell? well, again, i don't know. i suppose there are two types of people. the first type get rather depressed by their own mortality and the impermanence of nearly everything. what little does it all matter and what's the use they might say. the second type are the kind of persons who take pleasure and joy out of existence. it might not last long and even if most things are mortal should it not be enjoyed even more? there is a poem by duncan mcnaughton that reads partly: 'the absence of you // if I never know you // should I not love you more'?

certainly aging takes its toll on me. if i remember about it, aging i mean. mentally i feel as if i'm still 25 and physically about the same age. but for how long. i can tell that my eyes are not as good as they once were. i've long needed eyeglasses because of a astigmatism and a moderate case of myopia but now i can't even read the print on a computer screen or a book without them. what's even worse is that small print is getting harder to focus on. soon i'll need bifocals. bifocals!!!! wtf?! how about if i adjourn to my dotage with a pair of half-moon reading glasses, get a corduroy blazer with elbow patches ironed on and start smoking a pipe.

and my reading become episodic. rarely do i read a book from front to back, especially books and chaps of poems. instead i skip thru a collection until i find i have read the entire contents. the same goes for essays and collections of criticism. i've forever read magazines from back to front but now i'm starting books that way too. i've been going thru a book buying binge and i just started on two recent books the salt companion to bill griffiths and a compendium and history of sleaze magazines bad mags vol. 1.

the griffiths volume, edited by william rowe, is a collection of critical pieces on the late u.k. poet and ends with a lengthy interview conducted by rowe. tonight i started the book by reading the interview. the bad mags book, written and compiled by tom brinkmann, focuses on the publications hovering on the fringes of pop culture. i started that one the same way by going to the back, then later to the middle portion, but because the book is a history of pulp magazines i had to remind myself to stop and start at the beginning.

oh, and it doesn't end there either. when i'm writing now, no matter what, an email, a poem, a piece for the blog, sometimes that right word is just a bit out of reach. could that be memory loss? it is bloody annoying. i'm just gonna have to dumb down. simplify. and if my memory gets worse? oh man, i shudder to think. it wouldn't be too cool to begin a piece, 'dude done walk down da street'. well, i've read worse and i've written as bad.

and to the years catching up to me, what i've got to say to them is go fuck your momma. but the years win every time because i have no choice but to age.

now enjoy this video of bill griffiths reading at the soundeye festival a few years back as i start shopping for a pipe and elbow patches to iron on my blazer.


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