Last night sounded like Beirut in my neighborhood. Illegal personal firecrackers exploding into the wee hours--cannons and bomb blast noises which set the car alarms off and made panicked dogs bark all night.
Inside my house it was peace, it was friendship and family as C and I brought some of our intimates together--C met G--finally!--and I met C's ex-girlfriend, J, who is like family to him, as G is to me. I revelled in the new connections and the old, the intermingling of our different circles, teenagers with dyed blue and purple hair, old-timers discussing jazz, Theron and the other guys out by the grill, discussing the merits of soaking corn cobs in water with their husks on versus wrapping them in tinfoil.
Meanwhile, C has made a rough, tentative outline of our musical, with fourteen scenes for me to write--don't worry about lyrics, he said, he can cull them from the dialogue. I am so excited to get going on it, and yet I have done nothing today except work on poems and finish cleaning the kitchen from last night's wreckage. A lot of dead soldiers (empty beer bottles,) spoiled guacamole, broken bottle of ginger beer that exploded in the freezer.
I emailed the Revelations essay to Shambhala Sun. The Wing It! essay to NY Times Modern Love. The Barack Obama piece I sent to Newsweek's My Turn. All of those publications have a don't call us we'll call you policy, so it's just wait and see to see if any of the essays get taken (and if I make any $!)
I went to my tax guy Tuesday and finally got my taxes done. The good news is that I am contributing a minimal amount to pay for the war in Iraq. The bad news is I am making hardly any money, despite working hard and having a fair bit of success publishing. Last night, at the party, my friend Carla asked her date, and G and C, and me "What was the moment when you fell in love with your discipline?" Music for them, poetry for me.
G remembered hearing his elementary school band play and wanting to play so badly, but he was only in third grade and had to wait until fifth when his mother bought him a horn in a second hand store. C remembered growing up on Motown, figuring out the bass line, how that made everything fit together. Later, he taught himself how to work through two Beethoven sonatas. Carla remembered her first performance as an eight-year-old at a talent show. I remembered the book of poetry I had as a child, A Child's International Treasury of Poems, edited by Louis Untermeyer. I read it until it was in tatters.
And here I am, forty-some years later, with Carla, my friend of over twenty years, minus the husbands we married in 1987, still writing poems and singing and playing...