Monday, November 06, 2006
These Winter Mondays
When I was a child, my favorite poem was Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays." (I've copied it under the Benedictions and Maledictions section.) I used to recite it to myself, even though I didn't entirely understand it, especially the lines about "love's austere and lonely offices." And living in such a warm climate, I couldn't imagine anything more exotic than having to wake up and build a fire. Of course, Hayden lived in Detroit most of his life and such cold was no exotic fiction to him. And waking up fearing the chronic angers in a house, I imagine, is not an exotic fiction for anyone. I've always had a low-level anxiety about morning, the time when your bad dreams bleed into your waking life, when the demands of the day seem particularly painful. And I contend, rather unoriginally, that Monday is vile. Once a friend of mine had two eggs crack open in her purse (she carried them to school each day to put underneath her eyes to alleviate dark circles, a trick I'd adopt these days if I ever bought eggs) and said, "Fuck, it's Monday all day, isn't it?"
So this one is for you, the tired reader with nothing clean to wear, a gas tank almost on empty, nothing to eat in the house. You manage to find something that will do to wear even if it doesn't exactly match, you get to where you're going, even if you have to stop at the risk of being late. You buy crap out of the vending machine that never even heard of the food pyramid. You do it because you have to, because sacrifice becomes something else when you draw attention to it. The car takes a while to heat up, but that's fine. You lay your head on the steering wheel. Who says there's no rest for the weary?
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Where am I and how the fuck do I get to Detroit?" Richard Pryor
Drinking music suggestion: DeStilj White Stripes
Benedictions and Maledictions
Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden
Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueback cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather
made banked fires blaze.
No one ever thanked him.
I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call, and slowly
I would rise and dress, fearing the chronic angers
of that house, Speaking indifferently to him, who had
driven out the cold and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?