Oh. Well, hey! How are you? Are you well. Good. Yes. Glad to hear it. I do hope you’re taking proper care of yourself as darkness begins to seep in earlier and earlier and avocados in bodega baskets, again, take on their winter-time unappetizing mealiness (at least here in New York). It’s one of the most disappointing features of impending winter, I think. Any amount of un-leafed tree and frozen fingers could be overcome were the avocados still in chartreuse-fleshed summertime form.
A feature of colder months that I do really appreciate is the chance, or excuse, to sort of hunker down at home in a big armchair (if you’ve got one, which I do not) and read a bunch. It’s hard to read when it’s hot out, I think. It’s hard to do most anything but lie there and pray for wind. Maybe I’m just not so much a hot-weather affectionado. The colder it starts to get, the more I’m gripped by the urge to re-flip through all my books or do some internet-scouring for writing that gives me chills. I just want to sit there and absorb it all into my bones or something, so it stays with me. It is a kind of sustenance, I think. A very viable kind.
The past few days, I’ve been on a bit of a poetry binge–even starting to write some of my own again, after a more fallow poetry period over the past year or so. And that’s always how it works: when you’re reading it, you’re writing it.
Below is a gorgeous, visceral poem by Lynn Emanuel. Hope you enjoy.
Inventing Father In Las Vegas
by Lynn Emanuel
If I could see nothing but the smoke From the tip of his cigar, I would know everything About the years before the war. If his face were halved by shadow I would know This was a street where an EATS sign trembled And a Greek served coffee black as a dog's eye. If I could see nothing but his wrist I would know About the slot machine and I could reconstruct The weak chin and ruin of his youth, the summer My father was a gypsy with oiled hair sleeping In a Murphy bed and practicing clairvoyance. I could fill his vast Packard with showgirls And keep him forever among the difficult buttons Of the bodice, among the rustling of their names, Miss Christina, Miss Lorraine. I could put his money in my pocket and wearing memory's black fedora With the condoms hidden in the hatband The damp cigar between my teeth, I could become the young man who always got sentimental About London especially in Las Vegas with its single bridge- So ridiculously tender--leaning across the river To watch the starlight's soft explosions. If I could trace the two veins that crossed His temple, I would know what drove him To this godforsaken place, I would keep him forever Remote from war--like the come-hither tip of his lit cigar Or the harvest moon, that gold planet, remote and pure American.