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>How Not to Die

September 1, 2010

>September means the end of all the lovely long, hot sunny days with time to read and travel. Roadside weeds are already starting to turn yellow and brown because it’s almost time for them to die.

I don’t want anything to die. Everybody going around saying how much they love autumn makes me feel contrary. “Just write on your forehead,” I think, “I love signs of impending death.”

When you’re feeling contrary is a good time to read a Gregory Corso poem, like this one:

How Not to Die

Around people
if I feel I’m gonna die
I excuse myself
telling them “I gotta go!”
“Go where?” they wanna know
I don’t answer
I just get outa there
away from them
because somehow
they sense something wrong
and never know what to do
it scares them such suddenness
How awful
to just sit there
and they asking:
“Are you okay?”
“Can we get you something?”
“Want to lie down?”
Ye Gods! people!
Who wants to die amongst people?!
Especially when they can’t do shit
To the movies–to the movies
that’s where I hurry to
when I feel I’m going to die
So far it’s worked

I’ve been spending my evenings with a bunch of people, and they can’t do shit, although it’s my job to teach them some. And after that I like to retreat to the movies–the ones in my own basement, where a feature doesn’t have to take more than about twenty minutes and it begins with the same images every time, the “Rev, Rev, Dancealution” machine making me smile inwardly, quietly, to myself.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2010 2:15 pm

    >Ha! I'm not a fan of autumn either. I hate to see the signs of a waning year. Summer is how the world should be and look – the trees lush and full, green growing things. Autumn just means winter's on its way.

  2. September 1, 2010 2:37 pm

    >The part that makes me grumpy is the shorter daylight hours. Now I'm running in the dark. Last night I had to stay late at work and it was dark on the drive home. So I had to turn on my headlights. Double boo.

  3. September 1, 2010 3:15 pm

    >Go read Keats and get over yourself.(Obviously, I'm an autumn lover.)

  4. September 1, 2010 3:21 pm

    >By the time autumn rolls around, which in Louisiana isn't until October at the earliest, I am completely ready to be rid of the summer heat. I'm not one of the people who goes into ecstasy over fall, but I'm always glad to see it, if just for the cooler weather.

  5. September 1, 2010 3:51 pm

    >I *love* autumn. No more sticky sweaty days. Cool nights for sleeping. Marvelous jumpers (sweaters, whatever). Baked goods–sweet or savory. Gorgeous color everywhere. Wind scuddering clouds across the sky. (Is scudder a transitive verb? It is here and now.)Woodsmoke on the breeze.High school marching band practices.Crispy leaves that crunch and rattle underfoot.The gorgeous sweet smell of dry maple leaves on the ground.Warm tea cradled in slightly chilled hands.My son's birthday.I love autumn.

  6. September 1, 2010 5:28 pm

    >I love autumn, too.I recommend this: Drive way up north, where it will really seem like fall is on its way. Then come home again, and be surprised by how green it still is.It's feeling like fall here, too, though, although the only way it shows itself is that is feels much drier and hotter and like the end of everything. Makes you wish for rain, which is winter.

  7. September 1, 2010 9:19 pm

    >I love autumn because it's not winter (rain all the time) but I'm a big fan of sring too so can I be let off the pen forehead because I like impending signs of life too? I'm a big fan of teeny tiny lambs gambolling πŸ˜‰

  8. September 1, 2010 9:34 pm

    >You are all "let off the pen forehead" because Jodie made me laugh with that phrase, and just in time. Now I'm off to teach some more…stuff to this year's group of 45 writing tutors.

  9. September 1, 2010 11:51 pm

    >I personally love autumn … the "anti-spring." This was a neat poem … I've had my fair share of working with people who can't do shit! πŸ™‚

  10. September 2, 2010 2:37 am

    >I sit beside the fireAnd think of how the world will beWhen winter comes without a springThat I shall ever see.For still there are so many thingsThat I have never seen.In every wood, in every springThere is a different green.

  11. September 2, 2010 12:32 pm

    >FreshHell, yeah. One of the things I hate most about living this far north is how long we go without any leaves on the trees.Elisabeth, yeah, that too. I particularly dislike getting up in the darkPAJ, your kid's school doesn't start until after Labor Day, which is the way it should be. Partly I was feeling contrary about people chirping about how much they love fall because it was 95 degrees here (that doesn't happen often) and none of the pools were open since school has already started.Jenny, even I am usually ready by October, but up here the leaves are falling by then.Karen, okay, scudding clouds are fun. Just not yet.Readersguide, that's a good idea to drive north and then come home and feel lucky! It reminds me of the first Easter I lived here in a rental house out in the country and everything was still brown–PAJ pointed out that I needed to go into town and admire the green lawns. (Also that it would be funny to see the northerners in their white shoes and winter coats.)Jenners, I'll have to ease into it, just like I have to spoon-feed some of the "shit" to my students bit by bit!Jodie and Ron, thinking of teeny-tiny lambs and the different green just make me think of Shelley: "if winter comes, can spring be far behind?"

  12. September 2, 2010 1:00 pm

    >Oh, and the start of a tv show I'm describing is the beginning of The Simpsons Season 13. Walker and I never fail to be cheered up by watching a Simpsons episode.

  13. September 2, 2010 7:26 pm

    >Jeanne, There wasn't a lot I liked about small-town life in Texas, but I did appreciate that our community pool stayed open "until the weather indicates we should close," as the pool-keeper told me. What an amazingly common sense policy! (And one that allowed us to have pool parties for my daughter's late-September birthday.)It's the return of schedules, not cooler temps, that is so annoying this time of year.(My Keats comment was an attempt to out-curmudgeon you!)

  14. September 2, 2010 9:11 pm

    >"Just write on your forehead," I think, "I love signs of impending death." –> This really made me laugh, even though I AM one of those people πŸ˜› Like Jenny, I get really tired of the heat. Also, as always you post the coolest poetry.

  15. September 3, 2010 12:23 pm

    >PAJ, it IS the return of schedules that ties me in knots; you're right. I think you did out-curmudgeon me for a moment–I thought of "To Autumn" yesterday morning driving Walker to school in the "season of mists" on the fields.Nymeth, glad I made you laugh, and that you like the poems!

  16. September 10, 2010 12:41 pm

    >You are very kind to laugh at my quip instead of my poor typing skills (spring obviously not sring):)

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