Monday, December 13, 2010

Lobby Reflections

Note: I was just writing this to write, and then it read like a blog post to me, and I am overdue to post here, so I copy-pasted it right on! Anyway, that is why it is so rambly. Also, I will try to post some pictures soon - maybe of the houses I passed during my walk. It is tricky to get on the internet these days, because the connection I was piggybacking on in my room disappeared, and the Chuck's internet doesn't reach up to the fourth floor, so I have to bring my computer down to the lobby, where there are no outlets. But of course that is not why I haven't been posting regularly. I am just lazy and have always had trouble being motivated to write about things that have already happened or that I have already thought about. Sentence-ending preposition! So there.

I’m sitting in the lobby of the Chuck, listening to Passing Strange, and sometimes the Yardbirds, and sometimes Cream, and sometimes Robert Johnson, sometimes Rush. It’s blues Monday, I guess. Well, it’s been blues post-Chanuka December so far. There is something transporting about the blues, and yet so totally grounded. The blues gets me out of me and into me, out of my head and into my body, out of the mundane frustrations of my body and into the deepest part where the music lives.

I always think I love musical theatre, but then I listen to the blues. Fuck musical theatre. Fuck Christmas songs. Give me a song with a pulse that roots inside me and throbs inside me and blots out everything but what it’s doing.

Which makes it sound like I’m depressed and want to escape or something, which is not the impression I want to give. I’m not depressed. I’ve been moody since I’ve been here, and especially since Alex’s visit ended. It’s boring here and it’s lonely. But it is also peaceful, and it is also beautiful, in some ways. I mean, the problem with Bangor is that it’s too developed to be immersed in nature, and too underdeveloped to be fun and engaging and interesting and busy. The problem with Bangor, of course, is that it’s trying to be a city, in Maine. Whoops. But still, nature creeps in around the edges, and it is good. I took a walk last week after the snowstorm, for an hour through a residential neighborhood off to the corner of town. The houses were so cute, and the piles of snow on them so lovely, that I took pictures of a couple dozen (it felt weird taking pictures of people’s houses when they were out front shoveling their walk as I ambled touristly along. But whatevs, I did it anyway). It was cold but perfect out.

Today I walked down rainy Main St. to the grocery store, wearing jeans and my rain boots and a yellow-and-red striped shirt that makes me think of Harry Potter, and black gloves and a long pearly beady ambery necklace Alex gave me and a ponytail – I felt fun.

I have a lot of time to read. I picked up The Art of the Sonnet today from the library – 100 sonnets, with essays about them. I may or may not read the essays – most likely I’ll skim most of them, looking for stuff that’s actually interesting or about something I don’t understand in the poem, or stuff that causes me to go back and read the poem again, more slowly, and get something more out of it. I love sonnets, though. I think sonnets are the perfect poems. That’s not anything close to an original thought, of course, but I think that’s ok J. I went through a sonnet-writing phase senior year of high school; they weren’t good, mostly, but they taught me a little poetic discipline I had previously been lacking, and a new respect for the form. I haven’t written many poems at all since high school – too busy writing essays and songs, mostly – but when I started writing a poem about Bangor in my head a week or so after I got here, it turned into a sonnet, both in spirit and in form. A good one, I think.

There have been some really really beautiful paintings on display in the lobby here for the past few weeks (the Chuck is “Maine’s first art gallery hotel,” and, I think, its only; this seems to just mean that they display some art in the lobby and the first floor corridor, which art I assume can be bought by inquiring at the desk, but I don’t really know; I guess that’s all an art gallery is, really, is a place where art is shown and can maybe be bought, no matter the context). Anyway, I really really want to take some pictures of the paintings, but I don’t know if that’s allowed or legal or whatever, and the only times I’ve had my camera with me as I pass through the lobby there has been someone at the front desk, and I don’t want to risk their wrath. I should start carrying the camera with me every time, and maybe I’ll catch the lobby at a totally empty moment. If I had money, I would buy one of these paintings in a heartbeat, but of course even the smaller ones are several hundred dollars. They are mostly somewhat surreal, but beautiful, scenes in the snow: a scene with a heart in the air, and a girl made of empty space on a swing also made of empty space, hanging from a wiggly tree; a tree whose branches form a heart, with a girl standing next to it, the sky a haze of autumn; a white-space moose on a cliff overlooking a forest view and night sky, both in shades of blue-grey. None of these descriptions do the paintings any justice, of course, and neither would a photograph, although it would come closer. It’s just, now that I’ve seen them, I can’t bear the thought of not seeing them again.

When I am rich, I will buy art.

There’s a modern sonnet by Derek Walcott, called “The morning moon”; the end of it goes thusly: “…I notice the blue plunge / of shadows down Morne Coco Mountain, / December’s sundial, / happy that the earth is still changing, / that the full moon can blind me with her forehead / this bright foreday morning, / and that fine sprigs of white are springing from my beard.” I’m listening to “Keys” from Passing Strange, and it feels like that poem, and I feel like that poem too, here, sometimes, here in Bangor. During my best hours.