Sunday, September 21, 2008

Shaky Sunday at the Autumn Equinox

When in doubt, thrown in a sunset shot

Oh, lord, am I the only one who noticed Henry Paulson's left hand shaking as he was being fruitlessly grilled by George Stephanopolos? That crooked little finger, the hoarse voice, the slight shake (ominously, on the left side of his body) -- it's foreboding. My Friday giddiness has worn off along with the burnishing pleasures of the Verget du Sud, and today, vestigial remains of my Ohio Protestant childhood sweating out of my pores, I'm, like, PRAYING.

And what, exactly, WILL happen? Nobody -- Paulson, white coiffed Chris Dodd, scarily blue-eyed John Boehner -- nobody seems to know what, exactly, was said in that meeting where "all the oxygen left the room," as Dodd keeps saying. All the oxygen left the room? What does this mean?

Meanwhile, George W. Bush, who has essentially taken Rome down in the worst presidency of my lifetime, looks like a drowned rat, a whipped dog, in his brief pathetic appearances, limply whimpering, "it's gonna work." My interpretation of W's affect is: deeply depressed. Exhausted. Joi de vivre kaput. Hooverish, as others have said. Will he make it to Jan. 21 when he'll get to clear brush once again?

I take a long deep breath. Still oxygen in this room, at least for the time being. What could I live without? Is it time to buy a gun and a generator? What will happen to the birds? Will there still be poetry?

Perhaps elegy, cried out from the fetid ruins of Galveston, from the smoky remains of the Marriott in Islamabad, from the graves of the 62 U.S. military who have committed suicide so far this year.

I breathe again, grateful in the moment for whatever grace this Sunday morning affords: finding an old poem in a dusty folder, sipping a cup of strong English breakfast tea, a hot shower and a clean black teeshirt that says "art" in 40 languages.

Here's the poem I found, at least 15 years old:

In Autumn

This is a difficult season, dense
with hue. Is it true we have just
so many heartbeats? Profligate old
bootmaker, my heart pumps on,
ragged with hope and regret,
while the earth tries to settle,
all that rot a smile toward spring
all that sweet cessation and giving up.


Anonymous said...

"All the oxygen left the room." Simple enough explanation -- BushCo International has privatized it with sunlight and water to follow.

Having been downsized out of gainful employment about ten weeks ago, here I sit on the threshold of the big six-oh and I can't breathe, what with the events of the last week.

I'm not yet frantic, but I'm definitely quite bitter.

Macy Swain said...

You got downsized??? Damn, Anon. I'm so sorry. I'd be bitter too. So much for downtown Flint's robust renaissance.

Anonymous said...

Didn't mean to sound so much like a whiner, Macy.

I worked in the Taylor office -- not Flint. It's a different place and in many ways a different entity. The latter was always smaller and not quite as vulnerable to economic downturns as the former, thus, the decision for the new construction downtown was probably a sound one. I was one of several senior staff casualties, the philosophy being, "let's promote the youngsters and push our oldsters out into the Arctic on the next available ice floe. That'll help balance the books because we have to pay the oldsters more."

I miss the paychecks every other week.

The one-way, 73 mile commute -- er, not so much.

(And thanks for turning me on to GeeWhy's place.)

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