I was riding to church tonight, looking at the city which was seen very nicely as conditions were unusually clear. I was also thinking about how a deacon had asked me in the morning how the writing was going and I told him I sent a poem in to the New Yorker. The actual conversation was interesting enough, but as I was riding along I took it along imaginary lines and ended up telling myself a pretty good joke.
So my wife, who had already been making fun of me for noticing the city, wanted to know what I was laughing about. At first I told her she probably would not understand. Then, as we were exiting the freeway I saw how I could explain it to her.
You have to know about the poem. It came about on Thursday morning when I kicked a piece of snow which had fallen off of a car. The thing clattered like a solid brick when I kicked it. As a result, the muse came on me pretty hard.
The conversation with the deacon had been about how the New Yorker audience would be high-brow, and I contended it was middle-brow at best, etc. He said their cartoons were unintelligible. In the imaginary part of this conversation he would have asked me what the poem was about, and I would have told him, and then he would have asked me how the poem went. Then I would have said:
And added, “You have to admit it is fraught with lyrical depths.”
My wife repeated it to me with tears in her eyes.
I probably should have added, in the imaginary conversation, “I know it will succeed. That’s poetry so deep neither you nor I who wrote it understand what it means.”
When I read my poem to my wife she wanted to know why I was writing second-grader poetry. That was not entirely inaccurate, but what really made the list of immortal sayings, having been subjected to a further poem, was:
“I see the muse is really with you tonight.”
I was coming out of a meeting at work. At work we have three different sites, and so we walk back and forth between them. As I said, I was coming out of a meeting so I was in one of the strange moods such events usually elicit from me, and my way led me past another place where the government has some sort of center for dealing with “challenged” people.
We sometimes listen to the challenged people shouting and crying out on the other side of the walls of my department. (We sometimes wonder if this government center is not somehow a branch of one of the many of our government’s surveillance and security operations, a little Gitmo for the local suspects.) They have a lot of vans in their parking lot most of the time, and among them I noticed a minivan with the logo of channel five.
So I went inside and casually remarked to a colleague that channel five was next door.
“Yeah, if you act like a retard and head over there, maybe you can get on TV.”
He thought it was the funniest thing I had ever told him.
I’d hate to just keep all this to myself since I have received it as a gift. So I pass it on. And may the muse be with you in potent doses, my friend.