Wednesday, October 1, 2008


This month ushers in a difficult season. Baseball is still around in playoff form for a while, but that only means the winter is a little closer, and will soon have fewer distractions. And with all the uncertainty clouding the news in addition to the general gloominess of early darkness and overcast days, this winter will likely need some distractions. But this inchoate dread, distilled from internal and external threats, is hardly a new feeling.

Frank O'Hara, in his poem "October," articulates it quite well:

Summer is over,
that moment of blindness
in a sunny wheelbarrow
aching on sand dunes
from a big melancholy
about war headlines
and personal hatreds.

Restful boredom waits
for the winter’s cold solace
and biting season of galas
to take over my nerves,
and from anger at time’s rough passage
I fight off the future, my friend.

Is there at all anywhere
in this lavender sky
beside the UN Building
where I am so little
and have dallied with love,
a fragment of the paradise
we see when signing treaties
or planning free radio stations?

If I turn down my sheets
Children start screaming through
the windows. My glasses
are broken on the coffee table.
And at night a truce
with Iran or Korea seems certain
while I am beaten to death
by a thug in a back bedroom.

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