Where I am staying

I’m staying with my friends Kate and Joe for a week or so. I moved out of my apartment with K. And I am adrift. But Kate and Joe’s house is full of food and rest. And I found a new place lickety-split (thanks Medill listserv!!). My objects were moved in by an army of packers and carriers. Mimosas took the edge off.

I submit again the couch poem, circa 2004, based on real experiences in furniture moving and in love:

they say love is hell
maybe love is a couch
a used couch from craigslist
that’s comfy and striped
and looks good when you
buy it from geeky-man roger
and good in the back
of your rented green pick-up
but which starts looking bad
when you can’t fit it past
your apartment door.

and you find yourself
staring

at your roommate
(your partner-in-couch)
from opposite ends

of this monstrous THING.

you are stuck
and you know it
so you measure the angles
and even the windows
and you pray and you reason
until finally you face it
and call geeky-man roger
begging please take it back.

roge lets you sit
through the world’s longest silence
and at last says okay
though it’s 10:30 pm
so you do it –
you unwedge her
and drive back across town
and then haul her inside,
pallbearers, embarrassed,
leaving perfectly arranged
covers and cushions
taking your fifty bucks

from roge’s fist
and pretending that all this
never happened.

which it did,
of course,
and you go home
and sit on the floor
and stare at the doorframe
and remember how you really
almost had it.

More snippets that spring to mind:

“I daydream about a paradise planet where everyone lives forever, and their primary pursuit is falling in love with each other and then saying goodbye for a million years. They’d say the saddest, sweetest so-longs. In fact, saying goodbye would be this planet’s most popular art form. Then a million years later, they’d meet up again and, you know, it’d be great, and people would spend a few thousand years catching up.”

“Maybe we eternal souls experiment with lifetimes the way high school kids experiment with bad acid. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Maybe there was some cute eternal soul I was trying to impress by coming to earth. ‘Are you sure you want to go to Earth? I hear it’s pretty hardcore,’ she may have said. ‘But baby, I’m pretty hardcore.’ And now she’s watching me timidly pick my way through this life, wracked by fear and neuroses, scared out of my wits, and I bet she’s not too impressed after all.”

— Bill Brown, Dream Whip No. 13

Our preacher Veronica said recently that this is life’s nature: that lives and hearts get broken – those of people we love, those of people we’ll never meet. She said that the world sometimes feels like the waiting room of the emergency ward and that we who are more or less OK for now need to take the tenderest possible care of the more wounded people in the waiting room, until the healer comes. You sit with people, she said, you bring them juice and graham crackers.

Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies

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