LEFT: Men hauling tuna nets, Trapani, Sicily,
by Andrea Pistolesi
The Academy of American Poets asked people to share "the lines of poetry that are the most vital to you, along with notes about the precise situation that summoned them to mind."
Reading the respones here: Life/Lines,
I want to dig into the various pockets of my life for lines always to hand, like a tube of Carmex, or surprising, like a twenty in last year's winter coat.
I will post a few here and there for National Poetry Month.
Today I have a newly minted one. It's an accidental poem, still crisp from that ATM, my e-mail inbox:
Did I screw up?
I thought you were coming over today
at 3 p.m. to our house.
I wrote it in my journal
Maybe my brain was goofy from back pain.... Come over, please
if you can. I've made organic salade nicoise and
here you are!
I had arrived at 4 p.m. (the time I had written down), my doorbell interrupting the writer, my friend Stef, but she sent it anyway, an unusual freeze-frame of a body entering into the nets.
I didn't open the message until this morning, and it made me laugh, like William Carlos Williams's plums. (You know.)
The time and day and mention of pain* give this casual "where ARE you?" note an extra resonance. Even the salad with its tuna echoes the old Catholic practice of fasting from meat on Fridays (even now, during Lent).
In fact, the writer is Jewish, which the reader can't know. But I do;
so, it doesn't count in the world, but in my pocket there's another intersection because this year Good Friday falls fittingly during Passover.
All this was accident--like the note itself--neither Stef nor I were celebrating, it just happened to be the day that worked to get together.
The final reason I love this notepoem is because we had such a nice evening--lying around on her couch late, eating candied ginger and chocolate-covered almonds and laughing.
Yeah, that's not in the note either, but the question is,
Why are these lines in your pocket?
I'd love to hear what's in other people's.
* re time, day, pain: Jesus died at 3 p.m. on Good Friday. It hurt.