Sunday, May 28, 2017

i am not presumptuous about my walking habit as being the art of the flaneur but i do have literary and artistic airs and my walking has become a necessity for my physical as well as my mental health

i do not own an iPhone either so when i walk i turn my attention to my surroundings, ambient sounds and sights, people and vehicles

not that everything has my attention because sometimes when i walk i am so far into my head i don't notice very much

but it is early summer and the weather is fine which means all the beautiful young, and not so young, people are outside which crowds the streets but makes for this literary walker and people watcher a tad more interesting environment

i love city streets and can walk on them all day and night, i recall a long evening a few years ago with a good friend walking the streets of san francisco, we started at union square and we traversed, it seemed, the length and the width of the city, stopping along the way for dinner at a down-home mexican restaurant, and window shopping at the geegaw shops in chinatown, we ended urban sojourn back at union square where we had a couple of beers at lefty o'doul's [closed up a couple months ago on account of the landlord wanting to charge even higher rents] that my brother from another mother jonathan hayes introduced me to the night before

and so it happened on friday morning i was walking to work when the traffic seemed to be stuck in the ninth circle of hell,  vehicles leapt upon me as i was crossing the streets like unleashed dogs, keeping me paranoid about crossing the next street just up ahead

speaking of dogs, i approached a young couple walking their doberman pincher, the woman was bent toward the patch of grass from which she was lifting a dog turd in her plastic bagged hand, but as i got closer the dog growled, barked, snapped and leapt toward me with such anger and hunger i nearly pissed my pants, the young man held firm to the pooch's leash and expressed an apology for which i said, de nada, even tho my hands and legs were wobbly

but that's not all, because on the next block it got even worse, i was in my head, thinking about the poem i had written the night before, the poem where the first text had been erased by my cat, noah, who danced on my keyboard as i stepped away from my laptop, when i head a crow caw above me, i wasn't thinking much about the caw since i see and hear crows, for they are a city bird, all the time, when i felt something swoosh by my left ear, WTF?, then another half block the crow was above my head in a tree, i saw it, i heard it, when it pulled a kamikaze sortie toward my head, again, and swooped past my left ear where i can feel the air rushing around the bird, that got my heart pumping, crows have enormously big and powerful beaks and claws

i felt like the ol' farmer seamus from the irish parable, seamus who is shunned by his children, whose wife left him, and whose crops always fail, seamus a pious man in a moment of doubt and pique asks god why he is made to suffers so, he is answered by a tear of thunder and lightning, then a giant forefinger hits seamus in the chest and pins him against the wall of his house, when a loud voice says, cuz I fookin' hate ya!

it was an odd day, all day, at work, but i managed thru it, and at the end i met up with my friend, the poet tim kahl, and others for our monthly get-together where we have a couple beers and share and critique our poems, what seemed like a curse ended in a celebration of poetry

if not a celebration of poetry then it was an example of living in poetry, all the bad that comes with it, and the good, for was it not the poet paul la fleur who said, being a poet is not writing a poem, it is finding a new way to live and for me, my way to live is expressed by writing and walking, one can exist without the other, but i've been walking for so long that i think of them as parts of the same whole

by which i mean i don't know how to end this essay except to say that life, like poetry, like walking, goes on until it doesn't, until it ends in death, and death happens to everyone and everything

i've said on more than one occasion that our chaos of transition, political and ecological, have left me unable to write for how can my verse be adequate to the task, in short, it is not up to the task, we are living in wonderful, and grim, times, but as a friend wrote me tonight you accept and acknowledge the horrible and you can still be an optimist, sounds like a contradiction, but life is like that too, so is poetry

i'll continue until i don't


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