So, what I meant about the confetti that as I thought about all the various appearances in town I have made, and by town I mean Santa Fe (minimum 50 miles round trip) to Albuquerque (180 miles round trip) often for a five minute reading, I was thinking, what I am doing? And I thought, confetti. Then that word keep appearing in the way that pesky, light colored words blown by wind will do. And I started to think heavier thoughts, and then I got the flu.
See, I was cleaning my desk area which takes over the dining area, an upstairs bedroom formerly lived in by each of my kids, sometimes in bunk beds, let's face it, I am messy and hate cleaning. But I was having a very good time and sorted all my pencils and made a cup with a broken handle for writing materials and a matching cup with a broken handle for art supplies. I would be organized. But then there is always the moment when a molecule of dust, a smidgeon, a speck, an inhalation comes into my throat and I get sick. Like that! And sick I got, with fever of 101 and two horizontal days, and still I am dizzy and woozy and unfocused. I am violently allergic to house cleaning and this is day five.
Then yesterday I went out barefoot, gingerly, to pick some jonquils before the winds brought them to submission. That is how flowers grow here, the bulbs poke up, open, and then are destroyed on their first day. It's a wonder I have skin at all. Dear Oil of Olay. But as I moved toward the blooms I would cut to uplift my spirits, I stepped onto something spiny, and horrible, a pufferfish or hedgehog on the lawn... But no, it was a Datura seed pod left by the curious Raw Food Men who were here earlier, feeding me flax seed crackers and raw chocolate by the pinky finger-full. All day I limped, sure I would be growing datura from my sore foot, and I needed Frida Khalo more than O'Keeffe for that image, and so it has been a most puny and un Poet Laureate week, until today.
Today, when talking to my friend Cecile Moochnek and the call waiting buzzing and I look at caller ID. Gerald Stern, no other than, my poetry darling, my inspiration, and fellow Pittsburgher. Jerry is my most inspiring teacher, though today I realized it was 20 years ago. I loved how he sang when he came into class, how he danced, and how he flirted. He was a notorious runaround, but I loved his voice which sounded like a cross between my brother and an uncle, pretty much any uncle, if they had been poets.
When I must have hung up on him in my call waiting frenzy, he called back on the cell. He loved my book, or so he said. He liked the Pittsburgh poems, and he really seemed to like the entirety of The Singing Bowl. Or so he said. He also said he was a Mongol, and later a Crypto Mongol, the first Poet Laureate of New Jersey, proceeding Amira Baraka who managed to get the program killed the the gay governor who soon after resigned. But what I loved most about the call, besides the fact that Jerry's writing inspires me like none other, was that he and his beloved, the poet Anne Marie Macarie, live four blocks apart. When, after talking over a half hour, the call waiting buzzed him he left for dinner. That seems so perfect for a fluish person. Four blocks. He loved my book.
The phone call hooked me up to Poet Laureate Central, I am picturing a Crypto Mongol at the switch, laughing. I wanted to call everyone and say, "Jerry Stern and I were talking only today about the crypto Mongols." I think I am on the mend. My ego is recovering from the swift allergic blow, and the datura set-back. The confetti, not the dust, is rising and I feel ever so slightly happy.
Tomorrow at 6:30 Mt Time I will be on Living Juicy with the estimable Rhea Goodman, streaming live on www.KSFR.org. Check me out. I think I'm back in the game. The wind is down, and there are two books in hand, not just all that colorful falderal.