Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Sunday Night of the Sunday Night of the Year

Back from Vancouver. A great time, about which there's much to say but not enough time to say it. Mainly because the fall semester starts tomorrow and I'll be on campus from eight in the morning until eight at night.

Which means here it is, the Sunday night of the Sunday night of the year. And this untitled poem of mine (double spaced here so the line breaks will work, sort of, with any short bits simply parts of the previous line) seems to match, if not exactly to mirror, what I think about that.

Stop moving for an hour, and the hollowness you hear

will be your own mind, its equations, beliefs,

the finer points of political hectoring, all strung up

along a line that comes from far down

and ends in a hook. It’s the silence you’ve earned,

your prisoners, and not much more than a day

with traffic dead stopped at the corner. I listened

to things like that for years, wrapped it up with a little TV,

a federal investigation, some sense of starting over.

But there isn’t much of anywhere to go. A guy in a van

with a rusted roof opens and closes his door, looks at the street,

decides against it. And sometimes it is a decision.

It’s like the story of the duck and dog, how they were friends.

That’s the kind of thing to want, not some pointless assertion.


Unknown said...

Hi Mark,

Welcome back! You were great as the last speaker of the last evening at the Positions Colloquium conference, and I'm still laughing at the part of you "End of America" poem in which your narrator refers to an unnamed conference, a break in the action, and the people gathering on the pavement outside the event confessing to each other, "Y'know, that didn't make much sense to me either."

Oh, I'm a rotten paraphrasist--please post the passage in question here on your blog (when you get some rest)

Unknown said...

Ooops, that last comment was from me, Kevin Killian

Amanda said...

I love the poem.

"the Sunday night of the Sunday night of the year" is pretty intense. I hope you didn't feel 52 Sundays' worth of dread! Sunday evenings can be so depressing. I work a part-time job on Saturdays now, so Sunday is my new Saturday, full of weekend bliss. But over too soon, just like always.

mark wallace said...

Hey, Pop Quiz Kid.

I feel a certain amount of dread on every Sunday before a work Monday (which are often twelve hour days for me), and even sometimes ones that aren't before work Mondays, since Sunday night dread gets to be a habit. But most of the time it's no more than a manageable amount of dread. But the Sunday night of the Sunday night of the year" is dread squared, if that makes sense, and really very much not fun for me. Good thing it only comes once a year and is now not coming again for another 47-48 weeks.