Friday, June 25, 2004
back yestreen after 3 weeks away. half the time in West Virginia, the other half in New Jersey on the shore. disparate places, I love them both. fascinated by the seashore, why not.West Virginia just hits. it is so damn lovely in a stunning way. Beth's father died last fall at home, a farmhouse that he fixed up completely on the outside but never finished inside. we packed up the rest of his things, painted the entire interiour, did a lot of work. this was made difficult by how away far everything is. 20-30 miles to the nearest towns of note. the house sits at the bottom of one precipitous hill. a stone's throw from the front porch is a creek (pronouced crick). rising from this is another astonishing hill. welcome to the West Virginia hollows. how did and do people work this land (which they did and do)? the gentry with their charters got the good farmland of Virginia. WV seceded from that Union as much as the Confederate one. I walked up the road nearby one morning, up as in up. on a steep wooded slope I passed three cows. they stared at me as if unbelieving the incredible event of so much action to be witnessed in one day. fog clutched the hollows many mornings. culture shock here for it is really poor, a tradition of poverty here. I feel a keen sense of the place, an emotional sensation of the state's social and economic straits. it is hard here. that is, the resources are a wonder, but the human debt enormous. and it was sad work we were engaged in. I didn't know Beth's father well, but realized while there that the poem, Digital Cellular Phone, which I began just after he died, must be dedicated to him, for he was a man of strong convictions and sense of duty, an admirable man. Digital is for Beth, a simple personal recognition on my part. the dedication bespeaks the foundation to the writing that I now understand. I mean both the for and the dedication very seriously, not cosmetically. our time at the Jersey shore, with Beth's mother and aunt, was restorative. there I did more reading and writing. I did some pencil sketches that pleased me in West Virginia. I will, with time willing, post some just for the show of it. I read some of the Upanishads, two pays by Racine, The Iliad, The War at Troy by Quintus of Smyrna (who tells of much of the Troy action that Homer assumed his audience knew), some Heidegger, which I read practically a paragraph at a time, The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abrams, which inspires me to read Merleau-Ponty and Husserl.