No Simple Pleasures

June 3, 2008

The poetry exercises are finished. Here’s something from today: 

The storm outran the warning
So they were damming the doors
When the big wind came
The son cried for forty minutes
Then didn’t

Mercifully, the night forced him invisible
While his mother choked on heaves
Then lightning, and the entire world alight
And a woman breaks in two 

You were supposed to take the opening line of something and turn it into a poem. I didn’t do much today besides watch the West Wing, listen to Ricky Gervais’ radio show, walk to Mount Lawley, have a coffee, get ingredients, then cook a white pasta sauce. What have I thought about? I’m actually asking myself this. I thought about why I’m going through the West Wing again. I’ve watched some episodes of the West Wing about five times, I’ve watched the ones I’m watching now a minimum of, I think, four times each, I think the most times I’ve watched a West Wing episode would be, like, 10 times. Why do I revisit them, especially when, with distance and repetition, they appear contrived, sentimental, tacky, formulaic? It’s like masturbation: I know and can expect a modicum of satisfaction from them, I do enjoy them, but after a while the pleasure becomes rote. I try to go back to them after a long time and for a time the rediscovery is exciting but it quickly dips back into torpor. So, what does it say about me that my cultural intake these days is chronic masturbation, and not even enjoyable chronic masturbation? Not much? Well, I also finished a book, so suck on that, inner critic.

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