When I read these days, I use bookmarkers salvaged at my job from trimming legal size file folders down to letter size. This yields an item 2 inches wide and 10 inches long, upon which I can note page numbers and the paragraphs on those pages in which words that I may later want to share here can be found. I currently have several books sitting on the table next to my recliner, the markers in each of which are heavily scored with notations yet to be used. That’s how it’s been, of late.
Today is the last day upon which I can post here in the year 2011. My output has fallen off precipitously. This will be my 89th post, the least number of posts I’ve put up in a year since 2007, the first year I had the blog. But in that year I didn’t begin posting until July. I blame Facebook, and my involvement in several writers’ groups there, for my neglect of this site. That is a convenient thing to blame. Last year I put up 235 posts. If I start to read into this, it scares me.
On the desktop of this computer, I have a file entitled “Ruth Stone” within which are words I clipped here and there with the intention of writing a post expressing my enthusiasm for Ruth Stone’s poetry. This enthusiasm came only as a result of a Facebook friend’s writing of her recent death, and his posting of a clip of her reciting one of her poems. That file has been sitting on my desktop, unused, for several weeks now.
Among the books on the table next to the chair in which I sit to do my reading, is a copy of Ruth Stone’s, What Love Comes To - New & Selected Poems. In that volume is one of those bookmarkers mentioned above. On it are listed the page numbers of poems to be considered for use in the Ruth Stone blog post which never got written. Looking back over these now, I find that they are each quite wonderful. But I don’t remember why I picked them, particularly, except for one of them, which would have significance for one of my friends (and, therefore, for me as well.) So that is the one I will use here:
Where I Am
I’m not in a stone dungeon
under the streets of some Roman city.
I’m only in darkest Binghamton,
a second-floor apartment
in the company of two cats.
I have a plastic bag of dates
that claim to be grown naturally.
But how else can dates grow?
I see them hanging in huge clusters
from date palms,
as I once saw them from a bus
in the foothills of Southern California;
the streets of a small town,
adobes, lounging Indians,
a trading post. Then the fields of irrigation
and the forced water
spraying the great furrowed squares.
But I am here, not in a stone dungeon,
but in Dungeon Stone--
*sigh* -- It’s been that kind of year for me, too; year through which I would not want to live again. I’m glad that it’s almost over. I hope that next year will be better. I hope that yours will be, too. The contents of the Ruth Stone folder on my desktop are yet to be used. Perhaps they never will be. Perhaps they will die with this computer one day, not too long from now, when it finally gives up the cyber-ghost? Or, maybe, I will decide to kick off 2012 with a Ruth Stone post yet to written?