Wednesday, February 28, 2007

the poetry of busy

Every now and then, someone makes me want to write a poem. Most recently, it was Tess Gallagher and Eloise Klein Healy, who read and talked poetry Monday night at the Geffen Playhouse. It hasn’t happened yet (the writing of the poem); in fact, even the writing of this blog entry is barely happening. Yep, it’s one of those weeks where I forgot to book any real downtime for myself.

Chronic over-bookers are annoying because:

1) They tend to act like it’s not their fault. Like God instructed them to work a serious job and take a writing class and go to two readings and one movie and one mysterious sales pitch about something that their friend swears is not like Amway all in the same week.

2) They then proceed to play the I’m-sooo-busy card in discussions with others, which implies that others are not busy, which of course they are. They’re just quiet about it, and they manage their time better. Think about it: Do you know anyone between the ages of 12 and 80 who’s not busy? In America, we only have the busy and the busier.

3) When you do get to see them, they are tired and cranky, because they’re all about quantity over quality.

4) They don’t tend to write lovely poems like Eloise’s or Tess’, because poetry takes space and breath and controlled inefficiency.

Then again, poetry also takes a little busy-ness. I just visited Eloise’s website in hopes of finding some of the aforementioned loveliness to excerpt here. I was thinking of trees and birds—and Eloise does have a beautiful poem about a grackle—but I found poems about war and AIDS and immigration and working at a diner. Reminders that trees and birds are both more and less than lovely—they’re here with us on the ground, wanting what we want, beauty and sustenance. The job and the movie.

From the grackle poem:

It’s so simple, she’s like a person.

She wants the beautiful thing.
She wants to eat.

She’s like a person, she wants to live
with that beautiful blossom and she wants to eat.


Abby said...

ugh, i'm so sorry i missed this! it certainly isn't because i'm too busy. i guess i'm just one step behind in getting my name on the cool-literary-events list which i am sure exists somewhere.

Cheryl said...

There are several, actually, one of which I moderate as part of my day job:
/socallitlist/. Another good one, which comes with the witty commentary of Teka-Lark Lo, is thelodown/. (Those are both all one word, but I added spaces so they could fit in the little comment box.)