Not exactly the cork-lined room. But the shades are permanently drawn and it is situated on a cement floor in the most distant recess of the Vermont home where the noises of family are muted and even the scent of cooking upstairs can barely infiltrate. I suck all day on Rebo -- le café d'Haiti. I am called for supper by three hard thumps over my head.
I am trying to get Kinesis circa 1981. Trying to get the hurtling down. Hurtling down the side of a mountain toward my wife in Beirut, in the midst of war, on the most treacherous road in the Levant. And the punctuation is driving me crazy. How does hurtling get punctuated; how do those circuits in the readers mind open and shut variously with commas and ellipses, dashes and colons. Where do I, such a child at this art, find the euphony of hard syllables and soothing vowels that can equally provide the music for hurtling...now over the crest and down into the fog and fumes and chaos of the descent. And hurtling compounded by the beating heart for home, for walking through the door for surcease and kindness.
And, of course, they are all staring at this child at work. The shelves to my left of the resident creations. The applied wonders -- the indigo on the bond -- of other and greater authors' ambitions. Staring, stone faced, without comment.
It has been before sunrise since I have moved off my ass. I am drifting toward Oglethorpe. A bygone personality of magnificent proportions who would fill rooms with his laughter and sacrilege. Until he died from it all, or almost died, I should say, lying in a daze in ICU, hand in hand with next of kin, in an act of discovery, the hinges on a faraway synapse breaking open upon Rosebud, a child's ride on a trolley in western Pennsylvania, and now they turn the pages for him, read of his childhood by way of Investigator Zajac through 3 paperbacks now bringing back the carnivores, Frick and Carnegie, amidst the slather before the furnaces and the browning of the lungs in the pits.
And so, Oglethorpe carries them while I stay stuck on whether a comma or an ellipse serves best for that descent into the fumes and the killing around my home in Hamra.
I give up. I throw my hands up; search the screen for those incredible ball players from UCONN: Gabby, Pheesa, Lou, Kia , Saniya, Chrystal, Nat. Tears come to my eyes. They are so glorious. The way they flow.
But I can't sit and cry for reasons which elude me so I leave the shaded room and hike to my beloved Black Walnuts. Ten years old now. Planted far too north for their ilk. Genetically impure for either veneer or saw boards, I manhandle them every day. Cut off an untoward limb, wound them for a better stem, pull the bark back from incipient decay, stroke them, run my fingers down their groves, grasp them around their diameters breast high till the sun sets and my fingers hurt from the evening cold coming in from Canada and I trudge back to my keyboard to search for any virtue in any of the morning's work on Kinesis.