like shuffling cards

I had to practice, a lot, before I could shuffle a deck of cards without fumbling or loosing half the deck. It is not a skill I willingly bring forth in public.

Then there are the days when every card I handle ends up in a cascade to the floor, usually a muddy, messy floor, but let’s leave weather out of this post. Other days it is as if my fingers are magic and everything lies down with a perfectly crisp snap.

This is one of those days. Despite a late start- finally the alarm clock and the real world time agree again- although the clock in the car did need to be changed. Eventually all the clocks will be on the same page.  After a late start I still managed to get most of my selected errands completed. I am learning to be more flexible in my expectations of time and errand. The post office stop should have taken five minutes, but there was a line and there were money orders ahead of me and the gentleman who didn’t know about return addresses and custom forms.  Oh well, fifteen minutes.

And the stop at the gas station. Wow! that price is startling. And it helps if you remember to swipe your card and your correct zip code.  So how many times do I need to punch in my zip code? I sometimes fumble remembering it. What can I say, Pepin and Stockholm have both been my home and only one digit distinguishes them.

Lunch was tomato soup and a sandwich while rereading the poems of Ralph Angel.

Angel was my reason for going to the city. And a worthy and intriguing one at that. In fact I will be packing up my portable computer and starting upstairs to hear him read that amazing poetry. More later.

It’s later. I am home, on the big computer at my desk. All this technology and the best of it, the best of the day, was the quiet firmness of Angel’s voice. A laying down of cards, one after another, a piling of images, sensations, senses, phrases, words.  Magical without losing the sense of reality.

The insistence that as a writer he only has two tools: the language and his fact of reality. Poems are assemblages. Books of poems are larger assemblages. Both are objects of art.

You make the rules for yourself and then you break every single one.  Writing is the act of orchestration, orchestrating words.

I don’t know what that means. I don’t know what most of Angel’s poems are supposed to mean. I think they are the poems of being, not the poems of meaning to be. I like the idea of making a poem, not writing it. I like the idea of orchestrating, conducting the various words and phrases into a harmonious musicality.

I’d like to make a poem that could be read from top to bottom or bottom to top.

It’s time to shuffle the deck again. See what facts of my reality I can deal myself.

Oh yeah, Ralph Angel will be interviewed at Hamline tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 7 p.m.


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