Despite my once fixed and unbending plan to work from home on Mondays, I found myself driving to school at 9:30 this morning, for a meeting.
Before that, I lay in bed thinking about how I was really, really tired. My window, from my bed-vantage, looked gray. Looked like a message that said stay in bed. I talked to myself about getting up. And got up. And worked out and got dressed and in my car and drove to my meeting.
In the front yard, these things are still blooming: cosmos. The last of the skyscraper roses, like champions. Like Icarus in a blaze. A red penstemon, the same one the hummingbird frequented in August. Michaelmas daisies, the ones I keep tearing out, but inefficiently. A lone and ecstatically beautiful clematis bloom, purple. One or two scabiosa. Geraniums, red. Zinnias, red. A hydrangea, lace cap, which still has its dried blooms constellating over its green leaves.
I thought, finally, the weather I've been waiting for. Weather for things that are in their last hours. Weather for melancholy.
I sent review copies of my book to some editors. To some friends far away. I wrote a note to insert in each. The notes to editors, formal. Or in the neighborhood of formal. To friends, with affection. With gratitude. Now my box of books is significantly depleted. My book my book my book. I took them to the postal robot and it and I made quick work of the postage and the mailing. I had to send three to a foreign land. That takes talking to a postal worker. This postal worker had--I'm sure he has not even the shred of a memory of it--taken the very manuscript from which the book was made from me countless times, as I mailed it to competition after competition. This was before electronic submissions. This book has a long history with post offices.
My son just started a new job. His hours are upside down--a little bit after dinner and into the night. When we arrived home from up north, I texted him:
In reality, though, we were able to have lunch today, after I mailed all my books off. We had smothered burritos at La Luna. On the way to the restaurant, he played me this song:
The first two lines are:
Why's everyone still singing about California?
Haven't we heard enough about the Golden State?
No, I said. But then I kept listening. I kept thinking about Los Angeles, and how Los Angeles is one of those elusive subjects that I've never written about, or not really. I kept thinking about how the Los Angeles poem--or essay or something--is the poem I need to write. Lines, or the harbingers of lines, started coming to me, while I listened and silently disputed the poem's argument.
It's about California, even though he says we've heard enough about it, my son said.
Classic strategy, I said, talk about something by saying you're not going to talk about it. I've listened to the song several more times today. I might have a poem happening.