Turning to my other go-to poet.

At the end of this week, I am a photographic plate exposed to too much, blasted out in light so as to become completely featureless in the final development. I have sixty hours to regroup. The countdown is on.

And in the meantime, the beginning of the semester brings the young and the eager and the ardent and the suffering back to my door. We all lurch through this transition together, some of us gasping through more difficulty than others, gasping the more harshly sometimes because the difficulties go unspoken, or are shared with only a few. I think I am often one of those few, because I have a big, visible ear. We all have a talent, my mother told me when I was young. In the past three years, I have come to believe that one of my talents may be sympathetic listening. But free feeling in concert with others can have its own costs, its own worries and pitfalls and exhaustions.

And so, while the rain pauses and the loosened leaves fall to decoupage the pavement and a heavy fatigue settles over this cooling night, I let Ammons speak for me again, because I so often find that he has preceded me into the places where I find myself. Maybe it's something to do with that semester I spent using his office, sitting in his barcalounger, studying the lonely prints left on his walls. Maybe it's my own form of a delusion of grandeur, thinking that I'm anywhere in relation to this poet whose work I love.

from Garbage (part one)

I mean, take my yard maple--put out in the free
and open--has overgrown, its trunk

split down from a high fork: wind has
twisted off the biggest, bottom branch: there

was, in fact, hardly any crowding and competition,
and the fat tree, unable to stop pouring it on,

overfed and overgrew and, now, again, its skin's
broken into and disease may find it and bores

of one kind or another, and fungus: it just
goes to show you: moderation imposed is better

than no moderation at all: we tie into the
lives of those we love and our lives, then, go

as theirs go; their pain we can't shake off;
their choices, often harming to themselves,

pour through our agitated sleep, swirl up as
no-nos in our dreams; we rise several times

in a night to walk about; we rise in the morning
to a crusty world headed nowhere, doorless:

our chests burn with anxiety and a river of
anguish defines rapids and straits in the pit of

our stomachs: how can we intercede and not
interfere: how can our love move more surroundingly,

convincingly than our premonitory advice

-- A. R. Ammons