With the exception of the collected works of Philip Larkin and a couple of things by Ogden Nash I am not a real big fan of poetry, so the fact that I am called upon to set and style a new poem once a week is either some kind of karmic lesson or yet another example of how everything in my life is so terrible and oppressive and how can I even put up with it all etc. In any event, Awl poetry editor Mark Bibbins may be the closest thing we have to a secret weapon: His selections are always the kind of thing I am interested in seeing whether I wind up liking them or not. I try not to call out specific poems since I don’t want to give the impression that some are better than others (because, again, I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about when it comes to poetry and, unlike every other subject where that is the case, I do let that keep me from making pronouncements about it), but this week’s work is pretty remarkable. I cannot promise you that you will like it, but I would urge you to give it a shot; it is the kind of performance that, when you get to the end, makes you give out a little gasp. And if you’re not into it, perhaps you can find something else here that suits you better.
I took a taxi last night and instead of turning off the tiny TV I hit the mute button by accident and figured, oh, what the hell, I’m gonna be back here a bit, I might as well watch the weather. Well I sat through a bunch of crap and then got distracted by whatever was happening outside the windows and when I turned back to the screen I just caught the last couple seconds of (I think? I can’t keep track of them anymore.) Lee Goldberg pointing at numbers and little cloud logos, but you know how each day in the weather report has a brief written description with it, like “Nice and bright” or “Brrr” or whatever? The last day on the 5-day was this coming Tuesday, which was billed as “Quiet Anniversary.” So at first I was like, fuck, is it September already, which is disturbing for any number of reasons not least of which being that it pretty clearly just WAS September and apparently my mind is no longer storing anything that happened subsequent to 2009. But then I was like, Don’t be an idiot, obviously it is past September, you are shivering because of your idiot refusal to wear a coat until it gets into the 40s, which means it is at least October, and plus you cannot go one goddamn block in this town without seeing at least three pop-up Halloween stores, which means it must not be October 31st yet. (You didn’t think you were going to get a tour of my process of deduction and yet HERE WE ARE. You’re welcome.) Anyway, I finally figured it out and now I’ve got that stupid “stronger than the storm” jingle running through my head and really, are we gonna make this a THING from now on or is it just a one-off? Because I will give you September 11 or Sandy, but not both. There’s such a tiny range of room remaining in my brain for things to remember, I don’t want to waste an inch on another annual commemoration of a bad day. So pick one and get back to me, I’ll put it on my calendar.