October 5th, 2002

caillebotte_man at his window

Ordinary Nights

The night being moonless, I gaze at stars. Instead of music, I listen to crickets chirping. At a loss for words, I read. While the time passes, I find this:

A MOUNTAIN SPRING

There is a brook in the mountains,
Nobody I ask knows its name.
It shines on the earth like a piece
Of the sky. It falls away
In waterfalls, with a sound
Like rain. It twists between rocks
And makes deep pools. It divides
Into islands. It goes its way
With no one to mind it. The years
Go by, its clear depths never change.


CH'U CH'UANG I

translated by Kenneth Rexroth



Outside, I find the dark center of the night, and breathe it in. The nearest cricket chirps slowly. I count six chirps as I inhale. I count six more as I exhale. All the scattered distant suns glitter. Their light is all the light I need. The cricket's rhythmic chirp displaces all thought of clocks, and time opens like a book, like a flower, like a waking sleeper's eyes.
caillebotte_man at his window

Magnetic Mail

When I went out to fetch the mail today, at first I thought that I had grabbed it all. Then I noticed that the corrugated floor of the mailbox looked as though it had a flat spot on it. I reached in and, after a bit of a tug, pulled out a card about five inches by eleven. It was an ad for Papa Murphy's pizza, and along one end was glued one of those thin, flexible refrigerator magnets. The thing had been stuck to the metal of the mailbox, and, since it has no dated postmark, I have no idea how long it had been in there.

It's a clever idea, I suppose, putting a refrigerator magnet on a card full of coupons, but mailing it? And undoubtedly it was a mass mailing, with hundreds of thousands of cards all being sent out at the same time. I wonder what it was like in the post office? Did the cards all stick to one another? Did they jump about when their opposite poles came in contact with each other? And how many of them are still stuck to the floors of mailboxes across the country? Ah, the wonders of junk mail! Look for yours, soon!