Wednesday, February 16, 2011

After Midnight

by Louis Simpson

Ed was in love with a cocktail waitress,
but Ed's family, and his friends,
didn't approve. So he broke it off.

He married a respectable woman
who played the piano. She played well enough
to have been a professional.

Ed's wife left him...
Years later, at a family gathering
Ed got drunk and made a fool of himself.

He said, "I should have married Doreen."
"Well," they said, "why didn't you?"

I have loved this poem ever since I stumbled upon it, years ago when a friend gave me Garrison Keillor's Good Poems.  (Suppose it isn't rightly his - or is it?  Is this an interesting question--maybe only in Intro to Feminism courses: if someone compiles something, do they get their name on part of it...?)

Soooo, it's late and I am on vacation with family, and I just wanted to post this poem because I've been thinking a lot about why I delay my freedom/happiness/delight and how, really, no one cares what anyone else is up to.  I often give this as advice to sensitive (read: paranoid) friends that most people are so self-absorbed that they don't pay much attention to other people's flaws. 

Or is this self-absorption thing just a problem of mine? 

Seriously, I think a lot about binds - mostly the mental sort, and how to get free from the obsessions around which I wrap my bliss & power, rather than going with the flow, intuition, divinity, grace, etc. etc. 

(I just wrote grave instead of grace, which is up to something, too.  Sometimes I am blown away when I remember that I will die.  It sounds morbid but awareness of the short stay on earth--in this here body--is possibly the most humbling and liberating force there is.) 

Let's all go sky-diving, say?

Admittedly, this post is all jumbled, even the punctuation. I've also been accidentally setting the font on some posts to GINORMOUS and it makes me embarrassed to see but also reminds me of my friend whose emails arrive in two-story-high font, and it feels like she is cheering her hellos through my computer with a bullhorn. 

So, a big bullhorny shout to passion, to whatever it is you are reaching for.  And if it is hidden in a closet (guilty, guilty), to all I say: What are you waiting for?