with elliot smith tunes in my head since the weekend when i spent about 20 minutes watching him sing on youtube, i look around the room over and over again. it’s the weird nod of a person who is moving, and is similar to the weird nod of a person who is cleaning: it is the thinking-but-not-doing nod… the wiggle of the neck muscles that gives the sensation of accumulating calculable information. how much time, space, weight, etc. does this bunch of stuff make?
the french post will ship up to 66 pounds of my stuff per container (read suitcase), not to exceed something to do with 2 meters [cubed?… i couldn’t get this exactly from the guy on the phone, whom i could not get myself to request to slow down his speech or clarify his terms. what kind of stranger in a new land am i?]
the washing machine is going. the first step to moving seems to be to clean: to make order, organize things that are spread about into small areas, see definite geometric shapes: this pile becomes a rectangle, that pile becomes a square. must make pieces that fit together into whole. whole ideally has wheels… and does not exceed 66 pounds.
today, on the toilet [this is not meant to be crass, merely precise], i read aloud to myself the first couple of pages of a novel whose first couple of pages i’d read to myself in my head at least twice before. what insane mechanism in the brain made possible a greater degree of comprehension on this third try? the relief of having just let go what stuff had done its purpose and was now but waste to me? the fact of its being the third go-round? or was it literally the sound of my own voice forcing the elongation of each syllable’s passage through my processor?
the first place i began my moving organization was with my books – of which perhaps five were in my luggage upon arrive. i have accumulated a short stack during my nine months in france. short, but perceptibly heavy. [66 lbs – 5? 6?…] in moving them, in touching them, in evaluating their weight & necessity in my life [to pack or not to pack?], i opened several i had not, in all of my stay, taken serious time or effort with. what have i been doing here? not reading? not seeking that slim but all important puzzle piece of poetry?
the fact is, i have done some reading. but very, very little. as for completions: i have finished one volume of poetry & one full french novel. each page, it seems, has its moment in a life. as i sat down with a volume of mark doty’s latest poetry, purchased in the winter in cambridge, u.k., i found that poems i had glanced over in previous months suddenly had weight. i could feel their gravity as if stones had been attached by thread to each word – the very same words i’d previously found so airy that i’d given little attention to them, felt flippantly about them & quickly put the book away.
swirl, swirl, oh french laundry machine. how quickly will i forget the sound of you?