Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Every Angel is Terrifying

Last night I had one of those fantastic moments that cannot be planned or expected, the completely unexpected, mind-blowing and needed.

Last night we had dinner and watched the Charger game at a sports bar, it is what my baby sister wanted to do for her birthday. Afterwards we came back to the casino and everyone wanted to gamble. I like keeping my money and only gamble on things that have meaning so I fled the floor to wander the swanky shops and people watch. I heard there was a rare books store and I found it. As soon as I walked in I felt at home. It was quiet, rare in Vegas. Pretty leather and gilt books were displayed in glass cases. An assistant asked me if I was looking for anything in particular and I told him I was looking to forget that I was in Vegas. And poetry would be nice too.

The first book he took me to was a green leather bound very rare first edition of Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. Over $100,000. But it was nice to look at. The employee took me then into the back room where I held a beautiful red leather edition of Elizabeth Barrett Browings Sonnets. I was glancing through the poems when the assistant pulled out a box and slipped another book into my hands. There was no title on the book or spine but when I opened it tears came to my eyes. It was a first edition of Rilke's Duino Elegies, my favorite poetry collection ever. It was untranslated but I didn't need a translator, I began reciting the poems by heart, like a big dork. Beautiful moment. I am a geek. I would have bought it but I didn't have $18,500.

I'm a little off this morning from a dream I had right before I woke up. In it I confronted an ex-boyfriend about his lies and infidelity; I also confronted the other woman he was seeing the last six months of our relationship. I was violently angry in my dream, screaming and weeping, serving my wounded heart for everyone to see. Maybe I should get violently angry and weep; maybe I should have been more confrontational. But I let it happen to me. It has stuck like a burr. I look forward to the far away day when I can trust again, trust myself as well as others. But like everything else this will feed my writing.

I've arranged the poems for the chapbook. I think I'm going to like it a lot.

Janne Mertanen plays Erik Satie's Gnosienne n.3

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