Thursday, November 6, 2008

7: Old Journals

I apologize for this not going up yesterday. We lost power at mein Haus, and with it, the wireless. Double posts make up for it!

Earlier this week I reread good portions of my journal from last year, specifically the spring abroad, looking for suitable words for a pastoral poem I knew I wanted to write about Galway. Incidentally, I found the beginnings of a poem I wrote on Jan Palach, the rough draft of a poem I wrote on graffiti found by the old ChristChurch in Dublin. I was reminded of walking with Bruno (my couchsurfing host) through Berlin the May before, trying to explain why I write in a journal. He dismissed the concept as pointless, while I argued that by writing down bits of what I see, half remembered dreams and conversations, I can search back for poems. Beyond that, I can chart a timeline of who I am at any particular moment.

'I don't know if I'll go back to school for a time- it's less expensive to travel then to study....What I'm realizing is that I'm done with education. I want to learn, and learn everything I can get my hands on- Czech, German, Buddhism, how a coffee machine works, what animals think about, literary theory, Jungian psychoanalysis- and to read as much as I can. But I'm tired of arbitrary classes, of being dictated to, spoken at instead of spoken with...' Galway

I really like the idea of having all that space to do nothing but think, to the point where I'm willing to give "On the Road" another shot. I really want to begin to come to terms with the concept of being an American: I feel as if I've seen more of Europe than I have of the U.S, based on emotional responses.' -Prague

'We kept passing by cows and horses lying in the grass, which startled me. I read somewhere when I was little that horses never lay down, but that's clearly wrong. Still it's hard to shake the image of them standing through nights and rain, clustered together but unable to share the weight, how tired I thought their knees and hips must be' -on a bus trip from Cork to Limerick

And the poem?


The four hours there, the same small pub with light

streaming through someone’s window,

the fields of sheep and lambs,

the baby cow that startled and kicked

as we passed,

rolling the same last cigarette

the last few matches

because I wanted to smoke them by the sea.

I stood on the retaining wall for a long time

watching the other side of the Atlantic ebb.

Swans drifting through the ends of waves,

gulls cried for fish and livers,

I could smell the tide.

You were somewhere behind me.

You were somewhere ahead.

Everywhere the legacy of boats,

the trinity of drizzle,

I counted the Irish I knew

(taoiseach, craic, fir, slainte),

and smoked a broken cigarette,

spitting out tobacco curls.

It was raining.

Of course it was raining.

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