Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tone & Tenor: Strain & Fatigue

Rereading my Monday posting over a number of times, there it was glaring back at me, unmistakable to the trained eye: the somewhat disjointed writing of an exhausted human being.  Not that the writing was all bad, not at all, especially holding some wonderful allusions and images but examined as a contextual whole its clear that a big bottle of epoxy is applicable, providing a necessary bonding.  The cause and explanation is simple.  The writer, me, my body and mind, were overtaxed, or more concisely, "over-taxied" to coin an imaginary word, strained and fatigued from too many hours laboring beneath the top-light.  I am somewhat surprised because I was far more intact during my earlier lunch with the licensing officials.  Though clearly tired, my brain at 11:30 AM was still quite whole.  Having observed myself for nearly fifty-nine years now, I know when I'm on or off.  I did get almost 7 1/2 hours of post-taxi sleep which is often more than the usual.  Tuesdays and Wednesdays normally are the days I catch up, averaging ten-twelve hours of reinvigorating slumber.  So it is extremely frustrating when my best effort upon a given day just isn't good enough. Everyone has either painted or written a few clunkers no matter how popular or famous or accomplished they are.  A Pulitzer or Nobel doesn't guarantee much other than you will be getting another contract.  Read John Steinbeck's "Travels With Charlie" and you graphically understand what I mean.  "Of Mice and Men" and "The Grapes of Wrath" are pinnacles. Clearly then anyone can have a bad book or essay or sketching.  The last Picasso show at the Seattle Art Museum displayed that the great man himself could be mundane and average.  Maybe it is all about sleep or the lack of it.  I am dreaming! of the future days when driving cab is no longer part of my weekly routine.  As my friend down in Arcata would attest, it is slowly and progressively killing me.

Many probably don't know that my writing foundation, the words and lines and sentences supporting me, is poetry.  At age twenty-three I was fortunate to have a poetry editor gig. Those three years in San Francisco were good years.  Why we moved back to Seattle I don't want to think about. Unintentional suicide is my final verdict.  Poetry will always will my first love, just like Sylvia way back in 1968 in Good Soil, Saskatchewan will always be my first girlfriend, teaching me the significance of kissing.  Lately I have been reading a bunch of mostly 18th & 19th Century English language poetry, inspiring me to write a somewhat lighthearted poem concerning taxi.  I believe it is only the third poem that I make any kind of reference to cab driving.  Perhaps when I am no longer driving I will feel compelled to explore further my taxi emotions.  Though free verse normally rejects rhyming, I decided to end with some non-regulatory rhyme similar to making an u-turn on a busy boulevard.

                                                                  Though Taxi

                                               Though taxi is not advised for the faint-hearted
                                                                 or the newly minted,

                                               it may not be for anyone anywhere contemplating
                                                                  health or sanity

                                               as commonsense and reason departs when the shift

                                               and you are carried away upon a passenger's decision

                                               south or north up and down rain dampened hills,

                                               remaining captive for twelve hours of the too long day,

                                               thankfully finally stopping and counting your hard-earned

                                               ruefully swearing over and over again,

                                                                    "those god damn sons o' bitches!"

Don't blame me for this.  Blame Longfellow!



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