The air conditioner has now run for a second day, and will probably have to run for a third, though perhaps not as vigorously. I don't yet know how much this will raise my electric bill for the month, but I'm guessing it will be at least ten dollars more than it would have been without the heat wave, and maybe as much as twenty. It's an old machine and not very efficient, and the house is pretty poorly insulated. This means my celebration of the end of the heat wave will have to be managed on a low budget. I'm thinking maybe a cup of hot tea and some almond biscuits on the first chilly night that comes along. Followed perhaps by a tumbler of vodka to ward off the chill.
But first I have to get through this last sweltery night. And then the last moderately sweltery day. At least I'm going to get English people murdering one another on television tonight. That always helps to pass the time.
The sad news today included the deaths of Walter Becker of Steely Dan, and the poet John Ashbery. I never heard Steely Dan live, though I have their 1972-1980 boxed CD set, which I still enjoy listening to now and then.
I did get to go to a reading by John Ashbery, thirty some years ago, which was a memorable experience. But both of the major poets I heard read live (the other was Octavio Paz) are gone now. The slow landslide of time is carrying away the world I have known.
Just Walking Around
by John Ashbery (1927-2017)
What name do I have for you?
Certainly there is not name for you
In the sense that the stars have names
That somehow fit them. Just walking around,
An object of curiosity to some,
But you are too preoccupied
By the secret smudge in the back of your soul
To say much and wander around,
Smiling to yourself and others.
It gets to be kind of lonely
But at the same time off-putting.
Counterproductive, as you realize once again
That the longest way is the most efficient way,
The one that looped among islands, and
You always seemed to be traveling in a circle.
And now that the end is near
The segments of the trip swing open like an orange.
There is light in there and mystery and food.
Come see it.
Come not for me but it.
But if I am still there, grant that we may see each other.
A favorite Steely Dan song
Any World (That I'm Welcome To)