html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him

Feeling melancholy today, for no reason I can see. I have good plans tonight: working out, then meeting Roxie and the Funnier Megan afterward. The Funnier Megan thinks that she will be working on some stuff at a cafe, but her phone will ring and she will hear our giggles and we will beg her to join us, mentioning the new tasty yogurt place, and she will pack her notes away and find us eating yogurt and fruit on a patio.

I have even better plans tomorrow, because I am going to an irrigation district I've never been to. In fact, it is a type of irrigation district I've never been to. I can only speculate about what is like, up there in the low foothills of the Sierras. Flood on pasture? Trees on borderstrip? New diversion structures? There could be anything, in this strange district I know nothing about. It'll be dry, this time of year in an unusually dry year. There'll be apple trees, I suspect, but do not know for sure. I'll recognize them, though; pruned apples have a distinct double or triple vase shape, and I will not embarrass myself if I am surprised by an apple orchard and someone quizzes me. Maybe someone will hand me a fresh apple tomorrow as I eye a ditch, with a fiercely blue fall sky above me. See? I have very good plans.

So I do not know why I am melancholy. I was trying to think what would fix it. I tried poems, because although I am a barbarian who doesn't read very much poetry, I am also an engineer who understands that you use the right tool for the job. But this poem isn't the one to ease an incidental melancholy. And this one made me feel really bad, because it reminded me of one of the meanest things I ever did to my sister. (I didn't make up a missing sister. But I did tell her that tea tree oil would only cool and sting her face if she were a bad person inside, and then I pretended that it didn't hurt me, even though it very much did. And she finally cried from the tea tree oil, so I told her she must be bad. I don't know if she ever believed it, but I can still see little her in the tub with me plain as day, crying, and I am so so sorry, my little sister.) So the poems weren't so helpful. Maybe if I weren't choosing them at random.

Then I thought that I might like a letter. A good letter, with a story. I don't correspond with anyone by mail, so I have no expectations of a good handwritten letter when I get home. But I used to read good letters at Open Letters. I always liked the ones from Michael Welch and from Chana Williford. And Jessica Willis' and Lauren Zalaznick's. Perhaps I just like letters from people with last names at the end of the alphabet. Anyway, that reminded me of my absolutely favorite letter. I really, really hope that letter is genuine.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next time, give the videos for "Forgetfulness" and "The Dead," by Billy Collins, a shot:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrEPJh14mcU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuTNdHadwbk

7:42 PM  
Anonymous justus said...

Billy Collins and Mark Strand are my favorite modern American poets. I don't like Louise Glück or Philip Levine.

And I never get tired of reading Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress". A.D. Hope's "His Coy Mistress To Mr. Marvell" is also fun.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Jesus fuck! Those are supposed to cheer me up?

You were making fun of me, I think.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline said...

If you want letters from your bloglings but don't want your stalkers to know where you live or send you mail bombs you could sign up with this service:
http://www.earthclassmail.com/

For a fee, they'll receive your mail, scan the outside, and if you want them to, open and scan the inside too.

Then, if it seems unlikely to be laced with anthrax, you can have your mail forwarded to your real address.

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Thelonious_Nick said...

Some people like feeling sad, if just for a while.

Try this:
http://www.bartleby.com/123/19.html

Of course even in the worst of circumstances life goes on:
http://www.bartleby.com/123/27.html

If the melancholy sticks around, here's the manly way to deal with it:
http://www.bartleby.com/123/45.html

6:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melancholy poems don't fix melancholy moods.
If you're still down, and finally get tired of wallowing, go see Winko in the Acoustic Sanctuary on the weekend! He may be able cheer you up.

You know him, right? He's usually parked somewhere on J Street, kind of near the gun shop.

A4

8:19 AM  
Blogger JRoth said...

How about Marianne Moore? Her stuff was often nature-inflected, but not "nature poetry." I adore her The Steeplejack:

Dürer would have seen a reason for living
in a town like this, with eight stranded whales
to look at; with the sweet sea air coming into your house
on a fine day, from water etched
with waves as formal as the scales
on a fish. [...]

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bake cookies. Eat them with friends. Melancholy should be gone before the cookies are.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's silly, but it always makes me smile.
the llama song

2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoops, that was from me.
-MEl

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A4,
Is Winko that the guy in the big decorated wagon structure that looks like it fits about 3 people? I always called him the one man band in my head...

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sylvia Plath, definitely

4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A2:57,

That's the guy, goes by the name Winko Ljizz. I think he is there on weekend nights, maybe Thursday, too. Let's see if he has a webpage...yup.

He's really fun. I tried many months to get my friends to go, with no success, even though we were walking right by the van. When I finally prevailed, we all had a really good time, although he would not play any Prince songs.

He was OK with Johnny Cash, though.

A4

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not making fun; guess I didn't get what you were going for.

I still don't think "The Dead" is sad, though. Really. I'm kind of comforted by the last line.

8:27 PM  

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