Ideas surface that cannot be written out, due to intense pressure and procrastination. I haven’t been this blocked-up as far as writing goes since I broke my ankle years ago. Sympathy pains, I suspect.
Just an aside—I keep crossing paths with a poem written by Ralph Burns, who was always trying to get me into his poetry classes at UALR. It is dedicated to Simone Weil, who famously claimed that her body was a lever. I begin to like that analogy more and more as I think about issues of causality. Ralph’s poem just sticks with me somehow and I get tired of looking it up so I’ll place it here.
A Boat Is a Lever
After my student went to the doctor to
Check out the rash speckling his
Right hand and found out he had
Leukemia, that the cancer had spread
Into his lungs, then where did he go?
I’ve called his number several times.
Flat-bottom boats light in water.
Brown brack and mud smell,
Stumps like chewed-off candles,
Cypress knees, knock and small
Talk floating over water, a motor
Chuffing off, a small blue cloud of excess
Gasoline spreads an ugly
Rainbow on tan water. Every
Thing rests on its proposition
Including smooth isobars along the bay.
Since collective thought cannot exist
As thought it passes into things.
Chemo takes a few gray hairs. Mustard
Cruises the bloodstream under a blizzard
Of white cells. Subdued by the arbitrary,
Suspended, the one in the boat still needs
To row it — to direct the muscles, to
Maintain equilibrium with air
And water. If water is waveless
Then the boat reads by leading marks.
There is nothing more beautiful
Than a boat.
*My brother’s wife is going through chemo right now, and I’m reading Aristotelian physics. That’s just odd.