Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The rats are gone, or so I hope, but as a final act of revenge they - or it - chewed through wire that leads subterraneously from the living room stereo, beneath the kitchen, and into a set of tiny speakers under a side table in the solarium. This way we can hear music all through the house, from speakers issuing from both rooms. But since the solarium connection's been cut, no KZE the last few days, not there anyway, where I like to leave it on, background for puttering around the kitchen. I asked D to look at the stereo, see why it wasn't working. Suddenly music blasted on, a song I was indifferent to, and he turned it down while he investigated the faulty connection. I was up in the aerie, musing, puttering, and suddenly I heard Laura Marling's incredible Sophia come on - and I yelled downstairs for D to crank it. It's a great song. D thinks Marling is heavily influenced by Joni Mitchell. I don't know that I hear that - or that I don't. I just love the energy of it, the foot-stomping, mad guitar strumming, ecstatic beat of it, reaching what reminds me of how I imagine the frenzied climax of a revival meeting to be. I once, for a time, dated a guy from Washington, who had clear green eyes, pale skin, and black hair and beard. He told me matter-of-factly in his soft, measured voice, that his own mother was partial to such religious experiences, and indeed was prone, when so moved, to speaking in tongues. There was nothing in my religiously reserved background that I could relate to with this piece of information, given in between times of, over coffee or a diner meal, or lying in his arms, other forms of ecstatic experience.

I practiced hymns today, too, that connection hasn't been broken, is slowly forming. We'll see. I still have to count, in order to keep time. Four... one two three four... an entirely different experience... I wonder if we have a metronome kicking around... I could probably use one. When I lose count on these hymns that not all of which I'm so familiar with, I'm rather like a train that's run off its tracks a bit - not derailed exactly, more like threatening to go off onto a side deadhead intersection - when I'm meant - as all signal lights indicate, and I'm the driver operating this machinery - to stay on the main line. Ah! I've recovered the beat, the congregation showed me the way (as I imagine), in their deep familiarity and lugubrious adherence...

And that's it darling, for now. My musings have been a bit inspired by a piece I just finished reading... and I love the images, colored sketches by the poet Elizabeth Bishop, who I didn't know was also a visual artist. Her impressionistic yet very precise renderings of offhand daily scenes she encountered - including the curiosity, in several of her depictions - of crisscrossing electrical wires - spoke to me. I am not deeply familiar with her poetry.. but like the idea or ideal of poetry being able to capture, as best as possible, just such offhand moments, even if "imperfect," and even if "imperfectly..."

I glance around the aerie now, with its rich layerings... of lamplight, books stacked high, the dark shape of Claire asleep on a fleece by my feet; bits of textile here, my fingers tapping, printer light on; a green hydrangea-patterned lamp throwing light on City Island Scenes...

I really like Bishop's images. Also - perhaps I'm kidding myself - they seem doable. I love that they're not 'expert' - but clearly she has an eye, and a way of being able to set down the fleeting here & now, as she experiences it. Perhaps I'll give it a go, that form of expression. Her images make it seem possible... not quite the child's unconscious genius... no, it's these wires & connections fitted haphazardly across the ceiling of a room, a fan plugged in, speakers working, wires visible, not chewed invisibly by horrifying vermin, gone now I believe (verily - I must!) --- it's an adult's point of view, how these things work, and if you're not handy - it's best to keep those connections right on the surface.


Elizabeth Bishop (American, 1911-1979), Interior with Extension Cord, undated; watercolor, gouache, and ink.

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