Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Definitely a Midsummer's Outdoor Poetry Season

Seasoned by climate change

Went for a walk with Jetta this morning. Out for an hour, lingered in the seasonal wetland (now, very dry) behind Howard University's School of Religion. Swung by the largely unmaintained hilltop ruins around the site of an old Civil War-era fort. It really is amazing what's only a minute away on foot around here.

In any case, I was dripping sweat by the time I got home, even though it wasn't even 9 a.m. And the streets were deserted, people already hunkered down against the heat.

What ever are they going to do by the middle of the century when the average temperature will probably be 7 degrees higher than it is now, maybe 10 degrees? Imagine, 80s when it used to be 70. 90s when it used to be 80. And a day like today would be what temperature by mid-afternoon? By 2040, maybe 110 degrees.

It wasn't like I was exercising vigorously, though I was preparing to go with Marrianne to Bus Boys and Poets for open-mike night, tonight. So I was throwing myself around imaginary stages and gesturing emphatically. It is well and truly Outdoor Poetry Season.

I'm going to recite The Unfolding first. And then The Last Night.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Matt Damon speaks,

I reshape the message just for me.

In The Adjustment Bureau, Matt Damon speaks to a crowd of adoring supporters after a tough election loss. He tells them that even though he is widely regarded as a natural, down-to-earth guy, as a candidate he has been no such thing. Holding up his shoe, he talks about the influence of consultants on him and his campaign and how unnatural he really is.

We paid this one guy, he says, to figure out the right amount of "scuff" on his shoes. If the shoes are perfect, voters will think you are a lawyer or a banker, some kind of snob, not one of them. If your shoes are scuffed like some kind of working class guy, the Damon character says, you won't get support from big money contributors. So, the right amount of scuff is a big deal.

This I have known personally all my life. My dad was a dominating, charismatic figure. He was also meticulous about his appearance, even fastidious. And he always went for maximum shine on his expensive shoes. He loved me, and wanted me to achieve great success in life, but the plan was never mine, always his.

I reacted to him, I think, so strongly that I've spent a portion of my time on this good earth trying to figure out the right amount of scuff for me. This is not so easy as it sounds. Knowing that you are not Bernie Epton is not the same as having the right footwear in the right condition for every occasion in life.