175.1: John Estes:: Mower’s Song & Pattern and Fault
23 June 2014
I am in the process of a cross country move. For the last several weeks, off for summer, generally unemployed, I make to-do lists for small errands. Tomorrow I will go to the tailor’s, the next, Walmart to buy underwear. I will call Michael about his show and try to make it this time, talk to UPS about shipping an awkwardly shaped box, see Alexios one more time. A letter came—USPS lost my media mail and I have to remember which books were in that box to file claim. I have to reset my iPhone because it has stopped receiving group texts (both blessing and curse). It’s the small things I find most exhausting and I wonder how people who perform this type of daily maintenance regularly live their lives and do so without keeling over. The thing is they do. A teacher in college used to talk about a writer who could only write while driving an old pickup, grinding the three on the tree, around his property. The process and monotony of driving allowed him to think. I wondered about the logistics—if he kept a pad at the dash or at his side, if he worried about maiming jack rabbits as he took his eyes off the road to scrawl down lines of dialogue. If it’s possible to both think and actually do. I think about my own writing, how it has to exist in a sacred space, how I have to be free and clear of all thought to perform it, and how since that’s never achievable, I just don’t do it. In this week’s selection, John Estes shows us there is poetry in these patterns of the everyday. In the routine of lawn mowing, Estes considers happiness, whether its achievable or if it matters at all. Is it the same to watch an eclipse online as it is in person? Both, as Estes offers, are terror inducing but I wonder for the same reasons. He echoes Eliot and Pound, and after I wonder if I dare eat the peach, I think, why the heck not.