march 27/RUN

5 miles
veterans’ home loop
32 degrees

Feeling tired after these 5 miles. Is it because this is the 5th day in a row that I’ve run, or because I waited until 11:00 to start, or because there was a cold wind? Probably it was because of all 3. Sitting here, 30 minutes after I finished, at my warm desk, my ears are still burning from the cold.

Still glad I ran. I don’t remember hearing the falls, but I do remember admiring the beautiful river and thinking it looked almost bronze in the sun and with all the brown that’s replacing the white snow.

Running south, I listened to my headphones case banging in my pocket, kids playing on the school playground, grit under my feet, and some woman tell another that she needed to fill out some paperwork for her 401k. At the halfway point, in Wabun park, I stopped and put in a playlist, Summer 2020.

Image of the day to remember

Running across the high bridge that leads to the Veterans’ Home peninsula, I looked down for my shadow. My first glance was of a big dark spot on the gorge floor that almost looked like my shape from the side– my shadow? Nope, too big and too far down. Even though it wasn’t actually my Shadow, I like imagining that she was that big and that close to the creek, listening to the rushing water.

The other day I checked out Diane Seuss’s frank: sonnets and I’ve been (definitely not slowly enough) reading through the sonnets. So painfully ugly and beautiful and raw, and necessary, I think, to be read at least once all together. Wow! I’ve already posted a few of them on this log over the past year. Here’s one for today:

[from this bench I like to call my bench]/ Diane Seuss

From this bench I like to call my bench I sit
and watch my tree which is not my tree, no one’s
tree, the quiet! Except for barn swallows which are
not loud birds, how many exclamation points can I
get away with in this life, who was it who said only two
or maybe seven, Bishop? Marianne Moore? Either way
the world is capable of quiet if everyone stays indoors
and no jet planes, my tree, it just stands there
in the middle of everything in a meadow on the bay
looking what Barthes called “adorable,” then I drove
the mile west to the sea which had decided to be loud
that day, the sunset, oh, ragged and bloody as a piece
of raw meat in the jaws of some big golden carnivore,
and I cried a little, for none of it! none of it will last!

After reading this sonnet, I tried unsuccessfully to pin down the exclamation point line — was it Bishop or Moore? Still not sure. In the process of searching, I found some interesting stuff about Emily Dickinson and exclamation points, including that she used 384 in her writing! Does there need to be a limit on the number of exclamation points we use — maybe in writing, but in life? I hope not. When I was an academic, and writing in my TROUBLE blog, I loved the question mark. It was, by far, my favorite form of punctuation. I still love it, but now it’s rivaled by the exclamation point. Sure, I like to wonder about things (?), but I also like to be in wonder of them (!). Right now I can’t imagine it, but there could be a time when I love the period too, although that seems impossible, which means it will definitely happen.

I couldn’t find the exclamation point source, but I think I found the Barthes quote for adorable. I found it on Goodreads:

Yet, at the same time that adorable says everything, it also says what is lacking in everything. 

I encounter millions of bodies in my life; of these millions, I may desire some hundreds, but of these hundreds, I love only one. 

The choice, so vigorous that it retains only the Unique, constitutes, it is said, the difference between the analytical transference and the amorous transference; one is universal, the other specific. It has taken many accidents, many surprising coincidences (and perhaps many efforts), for me to find the Image which, out of thousand, suits my desire. 

Herein a great enigma, to which I shall never possess the key: why is it that I desire so-and-so? Why is it that I desire so-and-so lastingly, longingly? It is the whole so-and-so I desire. 

In that case, what is it in this loved body which has the vocation of a fetish for me? what perhaps incredibly tenuous portion — what accident? The way a nail is cut, a tooth broken slightly aslant, a lock of hair, a way of spreading fingers while talking, while smoking? About all these folds of the body, I want to say that they are adorable. Adorable means: this is my desire, insofar as it is unique.

The adorable is what is adorable. Or again, I adore you because you are adorable, I love you because I love you

Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments

I haven’t studied sonnets. Well, early on, I wrote one for a class, but I haven’t studied them closely. Not Shakespearean sonnets, or Terrence Hayes’ “American Sonnet for my past and future Assassin.” Maybe I should. I know that the basic form includes 14 lines and a volta. A volta is a turn of thought. I think Seuss’s ragged and bloody sunset is the volta in this poem.

a few sources to remember and explore