With the 25th approaching at unnerving speed, I decided to dig some back pages out of the pumphouse for Suze's "False Start Friday" exercise. I started early because it's really cold here now and shed-fossicking for ephemeral antiquities is the only kind of exercise I'll consent to. There is nothing like a beautiful, bright, brisk and frosty morning to make a hardy fellow feel like crap. In California, we get frozen sunshine. Here's how it looks:
You can see it above the frosted lawn. We chisel it out of the air and throw sunshine chunks into bowls and jars, then haul it indoors to wherever we need more light. Some people fridge it and bring it out at night. Either way, it saves on the electric bill, and it's a renewable resource. I took enough into the pumphouse to go clear back to the '60s. Here's a 1968 poem from STYLUS --a literary annual started by Willie in '60 (photo was taken by Hans Feickert and the poem is a false start because I'm still revising it) :
There are also boxes of old loose stuff under the pumphouse bench that never got titles and still haven't any. Finding them is less like fossicking ore than noodling for catfish. Here is one:
I'd like to have a
I could ride under
Arbors of dreams.
Through floral arch
Sleep and thoughtwork pergolas,
I would ride my ridiculous horse.
I would follow a
Ribbon of glowing
Motes along galactic
Dawn, ascend over avalanched
Days --embers under its course.
Over clouds composed
Of begins and of ends where
All events assemble, we
Would fly; my horse and I could
Canter on cosmic winds.
Ever arrived, and
Always about to
Begin are too diverse for
The logic of earth but
I'd like to have such a horse.
Maybe "Horsewish"? That is what I wrote over it so long ago and crossed out. I thought it silly and didn't want to become a silly man. Too late. Only a year later, I had grown my own cowboy hat.
Emerson thought what lies before us and behind are tiny matters compared to what lies within. I have just packed a bunch of STYLUS back numbers within a priority mail parcel and posted it to Willie. Suze's project has got me attacking, sorting and thinning out everything I've got stored in duplicate out there. I can actually see my pumphouse floor! Not bad for a silly man.