The most recent poem I’m working on (or let’s be honest, thinking about working on but not actually writing) is about the knee. There are so many problems with everyone’s knees all of the time, sometimes to the point that they need to be replaced. The knees carry the largest burden of the body and they get injured easily and they’re generally poor abused bastards. The knees never get credit for their incredible feats of endurance, but they get a lot of blame for poor biomechanics and imbalances that aren’t their fault. In my ongoing efforts to put off the actual writing of this poem, I typed “the knee” into Duck Duck Go and was beset with numerous images, not of actual knees, but of knee-high boots. Some actual knees, but mostly knee-high boots. Beautiful, sassy boots. It made me really miss boots. I’m looking forward to the fall when I will be able to wear them again and will have an excuse to stock up on some nice suede lace-ups. This paragraph took an odd ADD-ish turn. My apologies.
I’ve been on-again, off-again sick this week, which is very frustrating because I have an increasingly low tolerance for any lack of control over my body, and yes, I realize that is not a great disposition when you are barreling towards fifty and have to face the fact that things are inevitably going to start going wrong in the physical realm. There was some stomach stuff, but mostly I was just very, very tired and in need of sleep in the daytime, which is highly unusual for me. It’s annoying. I have plans I need to get on with. They aren’t earth-shattering plans, and some of them involve playing marathon sessions of vintage Tomb Raider, but they’re my plans and I wish to carry them out. I don’t like my body getting in the way with its weird and random malfunctions. I know that New Age wisdom tell us we’re supposed to “listen to our bodies” and “honor what they are telling us” and blah, blah, blah, but I’m just not having it anymore. Now I believe in beating my body into submission and enforcing my will upon it with as much thunderous force as possible.
During the worst of my sickness, I laid around a lot reading an excellent novel called “The Heart’s Invisible Furies” by John Boyne. I must confess I didn’t know of John Boyne before finding this novel, but I plan to read a lot more of his work now. I’ve been craving a meaty literary novel for a long time, something rich and substantial and beautiful, and this book delivers. The story follows the life of Cyril Avery, a young man in post-World War II Ireland who is born out of wedlock and adopted by an eccentric couple, neither of whom have a nurturing bone in their body. Cyril’s life is greatly complicated by the fact that he is gay in a time and a place where that put one in significant danger, and his sexuality informs a great deal of the plot. But the story is not pivoted only upon the injustices he suffers. The book is full of vividly drawn characters, keenly witty dialogue, crazy drama and plot twists, and heartbreaking romance. I’m only about halfway through, but it’s the best thing I’ve read in a very long time. A part of me is relieved, because I was beginning to worry that my attention span had shrunk to the point that I couldn’t tolerate reading novels anymore. It turns out, I just needed the right novel.
Along the lines of heartbreak and unrequited love and all that deliciously novelistic stuff, here’s surprisingly upbeat song about the vagaries of the heart. (Sorry for the inconvenience, but after I posted this I realized you have to go to YouTube to watch it.)