The Reality of Arts

Sometimes the arts converge to change my reality.

I got an email today from Poets & Writers suggesting the reading of a Frank O’Hara poem and then attempting to write a bit along the same lines.

I happened to have Daniel Torday’s novel Boomer1 along with me. I read and walk. I know you’re going to say it’s dangerous: a young woman jogged past me today seemingly on her daily exercise. She was not reading. She tripped and fell flat on her face several houses later. Life is dangerous. I read and walk.

The sketch is inspired by a line from Olga Tokarczuk’s Primeval and Other Times. 

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And here is my Frank O’Hara-inspired poem.

It is running club, wilding braids and Messi and Unicef and football jerseys.

Cece stops, three inches below my shoulder, measuring, measuring, measuring herself against my height. I’ve never seen Cece before and still I know this measuring means she has identified a basic oddity about me.

“I’m short,” I say to her.

“Because you’re a grandma,” she says to me.

The din sweeps us apart, trotting and running and walking backwards as we do when we are six or seven or eight at running club.

Walking past the bougainvillea, its colors vibrate past me, catching my eye, catching me, wrapping my senses inward and then outward like a school girl’s paper fortune teller, pulling and pushing and trying to tell the truth, a truth, a moment of avoiding a cliche while reading how cliche defines us all.

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