Wednesday, April 11, 2007

and I don't want to but I think you just wait

I might just resort to quoting poems for the rest of the week, because this one, yet again, made me stop and take notice (excerpted this time around for the part that hit me most squarely in the gut):
what really happened is

this: the old fable-makers searched hard for a word
to convey what is gone is gone forever and
never found it. And so, in the best traditions of

where we come from, they gave their sorrow a name
and drowned it.

The whole poem is breathtaking, and in some ways, I'm only extracting a piece of it out in the hopes that you'll go check the whole thing out. But these last lines swirled in my head, because I have been thinking about articulation. Who thinks about something as esoteric as articulation? I don't know- apparently me.

When I was in 2nd grade, there was this boy. He was a neighborhood kid, one of the lot I used to run around madly with during summers, unearthing salamanders and building makeshift forts out of sticks and leaves, running through trails paved with pine needles. When we got into elementary school, JJ was one of the few neighborhood kids that still acknowledged the truth of those forests, that, even though I was a little runt of a girl, I was part of the little ragtag bunch. He continued to play kickball with me at recess, and stage snowball fights before the bus arrived in the mornings.

And then one afternoon, around Valentine's Day, we got ourselves into a mess, my first but not last mess of its kind. We had both skipped recess to work on our little, foolish handmade cards. And he came over and said, "I'm making mine for you."

I asked, "Why?"

He answered, "Duh, because I like you." He looked at me then, and I didn't know why exactly. I looked at him dumbfounded. The words did not really mean anything to me at that age. I did not really understand what he was saying. And the pause continued as I was shuffling back in my memory through the books I had read or silly shows I had seen, trying to compare this moment to something I might have witnessed vicariously elsewhere.

But that pause was like a lifetime to a 2nd-grader who didn't know exactly what he was saying himself. Before I had the chance to figure out what I thought of this turn of events, he blurted out defensively, "No, I don't, I'm kidding- I don't even like you at all!"

And of course, I knew exactly how to respond to that: "Fine, I don't like you either!" followed by a swift kick in the shins, and a mad race out to the sun-drenched playground.

Even though I've come to know the look, the tone, the moment so much better over time, to some extent it seems like it can always be distilled back to exactly that exchange. Maybe now, I yell, "Whateva! I do what I want!" instead, but the difference seems negligible, really.

I suppose that little anecdote has nothing to do with the poem, actually. It's just that, because I was a 2nd-grader and not a neurotic adult, I never spent any additional brainpower teasing out whether JJ really liked me, whether he meant it, whether I might have liked him, whether I just got scared, why we didn't keep in touch after elementary school. And I do think about how it seems like such a waste of time- figuring out how you felt, or how a situation went down, for the sole purpose of setting it aside and moving on. It's not really a waste of time, I know, but I do wonder if it's worth the amount of energy it consumes.

Eh. I suppose in the end, this rambling can best be summed up as 1/3 cup lack of sleep, last 1/3 of Before Sunset (contributing to lack of sleep), combined with generous helpings of poetry. End result: total incoherence and inarticulation galore.

p.s. I appreciate it, but yo, Abhi so beat all y'all in the race to notify me of FNL getting a second season. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!

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