He told me potatoes were complicated. I know this is true because I wrote it on a scrap of paper and saved it in my back pocket. Some conversations later, I retreived the scrap of paper from the lint trap in my dryer. Apparently I had laundered the words when I washed my jeans. The scrap of paper looked a bit like this former leaf, except I could see these words in faded ink: potatoes are complicated
and some poems are born in badness.
The trouble is I cannot remember the conversation that produced these quotes. I don’t remember anymore where these words came from.
Do you have such scraps of paper? I don’t always know what to keep and what to let go. I’m not the sort to let anything go. There are scraps of paper all over my house. For example, these are the words next to my kitchen sink: We don’t even need to talk about houses on the hill.
And so, (leap with me now) the next photo illustrates the hanging on and the not knowing when to let go.
When he talks to me, he uses panoramic strokes, coaxing me to see the big picture. And for a bit of time, I am right there with him, seeing the big picture. And in fact, I am enjoying the wide view his words offer:
then something happens as we keep talking, as if we go around a bend, chattering and laughing but
then the poetry-gene
and the next thing I know I am on my knees,
examining something minute, something telescopic:
and later, I will find more random words on scraps of paper:
sugar on a rope, failed harbor
What does it mean to want to be heard?
little men lined up like starfish on the edge of a tidal pool
Did anything happen in 1882?
Some of these words will find homes in my poems. Some of these words will end up as lint in my dryer.And (I am sorry to admit) I am not likely to remember the walk along the river, the wide blue sky, the way back to my car. I won’t remember taking the above pictures.