So, yeah. Haven't gotten it up to post anything of use in a while, but I'll get there. Neil or Chris or one of you all gave me your damn cold, thanks but no thanks you can have it back now.
Anyway, I've been remiss in not plugging Old Mack's site.
I'm particularly fond of "Koerner’s Korner In Kankakee," and and not just because it's alliterative.
Read, and keep reading. This is real, raw, good stuff. Mack's had an unbelievably interesting life and writes in an honest, clean and often really funny way about it.
And yeah, I know I owe you about ten emails, sorry about that, OM.
This is one of those things that's worth the effort.
In the immortal words of Innigo Montoya: "I hate waiting."
Logic dictates that this is a perfect time to move onto a new project.
I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who gets lost.
And just when I was thinking New Englanders were kind of staid.
Well, on the other hand, those guys were from Philly.
Before you do anything else today, go vote and help make sure Olympic curling doesn't get more network coverage than ice hockey.
Yesterday was rough on the ice.
It's my fault: I've been skating with a 1/2" hollow since I broke my foot, mostly since during the rehab process trying to keep my feet and my edge was hard enough as it was without making it more difficult with tetchy skates.
This last week or so, I'd been feeling like 1/2" was fast, and enjoying that, but *real* slidy around the corners and boards, when what I wanted was control. I mean, control being relative in my case, but still.
So for the first time since March, I asked the guy to put something a little toothier on there for me. This wasn't the bored and mouthy guys down at the Decathlon pro shop, this was a real skate guy at a ski and skate shop down by Becca's work in Newton. He nodded like he got what I was talking about, and came back with my skates, said he put 3/8" on there and that should do me.
It did. Did me straight into the ice, into the boards, into other skaters. I'd forgotten that for the control the tradeoff is less sliding surface, and a fuck of a lot more work. Two strides where I'd been taking one, feeling like Fred Flinstone getting the car started, feet churning, trying to get out of the neutral zone.
I'm starting to engage again. More confident, taking more risks, getting in there, which in my case leads to a lot of wild tail-chasing and overcompensation.
A few moments of real worth out there, that I might not have had otherwise. But a lot of big, blatant mistakes, too. Tripping over myself, sent slamming into the boards. Not once. Three times. Too much contact, a lot of times.
Miscalculations that led directly to the puck in our net.
I must have apologized to the goalie a half dozen times.
On the other hand, once I jumped on the puck and kept it in at the corner. Almost got stood up by the guy carrying it, banged off the boards, but the puck stayed in. As I climbed off the ice, one of the guys who plays blindingly well (they all do, but no, he's really, *really* good -- along the lines of tribal necklace guy; a younger player, faster, highly, almost preternaturally intuitive out there) hockey tapped me.
Even if it was only about the effort, it was good, and I sat and felt like it was worth the risks, worth screwing up that much more in a big way if I was trying harder.
Got home and eveything hurt. Like it hasn't in a long time, different than the first day, which was mostly shock of 'whoa, exercise' and being out of shape. This was battered, bruised. Whiplashed. All the times I'd ignored hurt or fear and pushed, really pushed.
Sat and cried for a while. Whined to Bec, whined to Chris, got sent to bed.
Today my neck's still stiff and sore, but I have the sense of it all being worth it, and it's good.
Virginie and I had been asking about a practice, but Paul says it can't happen right now, for a bunch of reasons. His solution was assigning us a 'hockey mentor,' someone to hang out with before and after the games, who'll help us with skills and improving. I'm skeptical about how much can be done in fifteen minutes of stick time, but on the other hand, my passing's gone straight to hell and any work is good work.
I think the main benefit is accountability, in that case. And as far as my play goes, a lot more direction, a lot less spinning my wheels, which would be a very good thing.
I'm apprehensive. Want to do well, want to not piss off or disappoint whoever it is. I don't know any of these guys well enough not to feel that. There's not the comfort I'd have with Brian, or any of a handful of other guys at home.
On the other hand, maybe that'll make me work harder, who knows.
It is, in case you don't live here or if you do, you haven't noticed, *cold*.
Bec and I agree it's nowhere near what we were afraid of, that somehow it'd be unliveable. It's not. We had our big snowtorm with the swirling wind and blinding flakes, thunder and lightning. I shoveled the sidewalk and the stairs while Lili climbed around in it in her snowsuit, chuckling when she sank in up to her elbows and got powder on her nose.
We're learning when to crank the heater, and not to go out without gloves.
But there's still some shocks, here and there. I walked out of the rink and by the time I'd gotten to the truck, my wet hair was crunchy. Crunchy, that's *frozen*, thank you, between the MIT sports center and the parking lot.
That and the moment of sitting on the bench tilting my water bottle up to my lips and having it go not "slosh" but "thunk" and no water coming out.
Minor adjustments. But the winter so far is beautiful, deep and heavy and complete all around us. A real sense of all life halted, arrested.
Except for we silly out of season ants scurrying around in our parkas and mufflers, on the serene surface of the snow.
Honestly, my favorite poem changes constantly. This is up in the top five, though.
I will finish that other post. I swear.
You Don't Know What Love Is
(an evening with Charles Bukowski)
by Ramond Carver
You don't know what love is Bukowski said
I'm 51 years old look at me
I'm in love with this young broad
I got it bad but she's hung up too
so it's all right man that's the way it should be
I get in their blood and they can't get me out
They try everything to get away from me
but they all come back in the end
They all came back to me except
the one I planted
I cried over that one
but I cried easy in those days
Don't let me get onto the hard stuff man
I get mean then
I could sit here and drink beer
with you hippies all night
I could drink ten quarts of this beer
and nothing it's like water
But let me get onto the hard stuff
and I'll start throwing people out windows
I'll throw anybody out the window
I've done it
But you don't know what love is
You don't know because you've never
been in love it's that simple
I got this young broad see she's beautiful
She calls me Bukowski
Bukowski she says in this little voice
and I say What
But you don't know what love is
I'm telling you what it is
but you aren't listening
There isn't one of you in this room
would recognize love if it stepped up
and buggered you in the ass
I used to think poetry readings were a copout
Look I'm 51 years old and I've been around
I know they're a copout
but I said to myself Bukowski
starving is even more of a copout
So there you are and nothing is like it should be
That fellow what's his name Galway Kinnell
I saw his picture in a magazine
He has a handsome mug on him
but he's a teacher
Christ can you imagine
But then you're teachers too
here I am insulting you already
No I haven't heard of him
or him either
They're all termites
Maybe it's ego I don't read much anymore
but these people who build
reputations on five or six books
Bukowski she says
Why do you listen to classical music all day
Can't you hear her saying that
Bukowski why do you listen to classical music all day
That surprises you doesn't it
You wouldn't think a crude bastard like me
could listen to classical music all day
Brahms Rachmaninoff Bartok Telemann
Shit I couldn't write up here
Too quiet up here too many trees
I like the city that's the place for me
I put on my classical music each morning
and sit down in front of my typewriter
I light a cigar and I smoke it like this see
and I say Bukowski you're a lucky man
Bukowski you've gone through it all
and you're a lucky man
and the blue smoke drifts across the table
and I look out the window onto Delongpre Avenue
and I see people walking up and down the sidewalk
and I puff on the cigar like this
and then I lay the cigar in the ashtray like this
and take a deep breath
and I begin to write
Bukowski this is the life I say
it's good to be poor it's good to have hemorrhoids
it's good to be in love
But you don't know what it's like
You don't know what it's like to be in love
If you could see her you'd know what I mean
She thought I'd come up here and get laid
She just knew it
She told me she knew it
Shit I'm 51 years old and she's 25
and we're in love and she's jealous
Jesus it's beautiful
she said she'd claw my eyes out if I came up here
and got laid
Now that's love for you
What do any of you know about it
Let me tell you something
I've met men in jail who had more style
than the people who hang around colleges
and go to poetry readings
They're bloodsuckers who come to see
if the poet's socks are dirty
or if he smells under the arms
Believe me I won't disappoint em
But I want you to remember this
there's only one poet in this room tonight
only one poet in this town tonight
maybe only one real poet in this country tonight
and that's me
What do any of you know about life
What do any of you know about anything
Which of you here has been fired from a job
or else has beaten up your broad
or else has been beaten up by your broad
I was fired from Sears and Roebuck five times
They'd fire me then hire me back again
I was a stockboy for them when I was 35
and then got canned for stealing cookies
I know what's it like I've been there
I'm 51 years old now and I'm in love
This little broad she says
and I say What and she says
I think you're full of shit
and I say baby you understand me
She's the only broad in the world
man or woman
I'd take that from
But you don't know what love is
They all came back to me in the end too
every one of em came back
except that one I told you about
the one I planted
We were together seven years
We used to drink a lot
I see a couple of typers in this room but
I don't see any poets
I'm not surprised
You have to have been in love to write poetry
and you don't know what it is to be in love
that's your trouble
Give me some of that stuff
That's right no ice good
That's good that's just fine
So let's get this show on the road
I know what I said but I'll have just one
That tastes good
Okay then let's go let's get this over with
only afterwards don't anyone stand close
to an open window
I'd meant to write this thing about the Sharks guys coming here and hockey and settling in, and I'm working on that, but right now this is what I'm saying instead.
I roar conversationally.
I'm not sure how to really even modulate anymore, written or otherwise; it's all this massive amount of *talk*, which is I guess one of the occupational hazards of being a writer. Of being me.
As you've by now observed, however, it's its own sort of baffle. There's so much so loud you might miss the important stuff, in fact I generally count on that.
Like right now. Four paragraphs in and you're still reading but, really? I haven't said a damn thing.
I wrote this post a few times. A lot of long versions.
What is telling is what is most brief. You will know what I mean when you read this, and maybe the weight of it is too much, but I don't think so. I think you already know.
None of it, not a word, not a single word, is fiction.