13 January 2020

Journal Entry for January 12, The Second in a Possible Series and in it Poetry -- Among other Things -- is Discussed With a Mention of Frank O'Hara

Frank O'Hara
My New Year’s Resolution this year was to read and write more poetry. These are two related practices that I have fallen out of recently — much to my detriment. Reading poetry is for me similar to going to a museum. I don’t have to remember anything about the experience and I don’t have look for meaning or any of life’s answers yet I always feel intellectually sated. Wiser. Also like I’ve just gotten out of a warm bath.

Today is the 13th and I finally got around to reading some poetry, whether I later getting around to writing any today is a different matter. I read from Frank O’Hara’s Lunch Poems. (When we art the Museum of Modern Art in New York in October there was an exhibition of O'Hara who had been a curator at the museum -- swell guy.) They are some of my favorites. Favorite poems, I mean. I don’t recall any specific ones, in fact I rarely remember the names of particular poems. I have nothing against memorizing poems or reading them so much that one can recite them by heart, I just don’t feel compelled to. Remembering lines from a poem would for me be like enjoying a day at the beach and remembering specific waves. I’m sorry if that doesn’t make sense but it accurately describes how I feel.

Oh to be an angel (if there are any!) and go
straight up into the sky and look around and then
                                                     come down
not to be covered by steel and aluminum
glaringly ugly in the pure distances and clattering and
                                              buckling, wheezing
but to be part of the treetops and the blueness, invisible
the iridescent darkness beyond,
                      silent, listenting to
the air becoming no air becoming air again
- From the poem Three Airs by Frank O'Hara

I also like to quote poems as I’ve done on my blog frequently. I admit it, it makes me feel smart. Or maybe more accurately it makes me look smart (which takes some doing, believe me).

It’a all a process. Everything. Nothing concludes except life itself. Everything is like a river and trying to compartmentalize it or divide it into time periods is….gee, I don’t know what to call it. I was going to a  write fool’s errand but that somehow doesn’t seem right. Well the point is you can’t sectionalize a river. The shore yes, but not the water. It flows.

I spent a lot of my youth looking forward to the time when I would have it all figured out. Enlightenment. Everything’s done, it’s all settled, questions answered, time to sit back and relax. Well cuz, it just don’t work that way. I figured that out pretty quick. It’s kind of like the more you learn the less you know. I’ve learned so much over the years that today I’m truly ignorant. But I show up for more.

Well I seem to have run out of steam here. I’ve got several things to do so I’d better get on it. One thing I’m doing these days is reading a biography of Napoleon. The sucker is 810 pages long. I’m enjoying it and it's filling in some gaps in my historical knowledge but damned if it can’t be frustrating to read a long book as it occupies so much of your reading time. In the past I’ve read a non fiction book and a novel at the same time but I prefer focusing on one. What’s frustrating about reading a long book is that all the books I have that are waiting to be read keep calling out to me asking for their turn. I have a new biography of Frederick Douglass waiting to be read and it’s a weighty tome as well. But it’ll have to wait. No way am I diving headlong into another biography after I finish with this Bonaparte chap. I’ll read a novel or two or three before I get to Mr. Douglass.

Okay, so this is two days in a row I’ve written a journal entry and I reckon for the second straight day I’ll put it up on ye olde blog. This can’t last, but then it doesn’t need to. Nothing does.

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