rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,

Reset Twenty-One, Day Eight

Uneventful Saturday has gone, and for the last few hours premature celebrants have been setting off illegal fireworks. Here in the mini-metropolis, of course, it's nothing like Los Angeles, where the cherry bombs and Roman candles are accompanied by gunfire, and where later tonight the smoke will hang so thick in the air and the smell of gunpowder be so strong that veterans will have flashbacks, but even here there will be panicked dogs whimpering and cats will hide wide-eyed under beds. Fireworks are illegal in highly flammable Butte County except in two of the incorporated cities, and Chico is not one of them. Still, patriotic scofflaws and self-indulgent kids will have their fun blowing shit up.

Every fifteen minutes or so all night there have been assorted pops and bangs, some of them near, some far, some softer and some louder. Who would have thought so many people would be staying awake in this backwater? And of course come actual Independence Day nightfall there will be more explosions. I don't expect anything as spectacular as the recent event in Los Angeles when the police bomb squad managed to blow up a truck into which they had loaded a large cache of confiscated illegal fireworks, causing much damage and numerous injuries, but then Butte County seldom does things on such a scale. Here we just let the utility company burn down entire towns.

For the last few nights (well, days) I've been getting only six or so hours of sleep before I wake up and find myself unable to either turn off or fully engage my brain. This situation invariably means a long sleep is coming, maybe ten or more hours. It's only a matter of when, but the longer it is put off the longer that sleep will be. I'm expecting it within the next few days. It will most likely be followed by a couple of days of more than ordinary muddle-headedness. This time it will coincide with a heat wave. Should be interesting. Should be harrowing.

The mockingbird has been singing again tonight. He doesn't seem to be bothered by the firecrackers. He's got problems of his own. I guess that means the firecrackers shouldn't bother me either. And indeed, they don't. As long as the assholes setting them off don't set anything on fire.

Sunday Verse

Dear Reader

by Billy Collins

Baudelaire considers you his brother,
and Fielding calls out to you every few paragraphs
as if to make sure you have not closed the book,
and now I am summoning you up again,
attentive ghost, dark silent figure standing
in the doorway of these words.

Pope welcomes you into the glow of his study,
takes down a leather-bound Ovid to show you.
Tennyson lifts the latch to a moated garden,
and with Yeats you lean against a broken pear tree,
the day hooded by low clouds.

But now you are here with me,
composed in the open field of this page,
no room or manicured garden to enclose us,
no Zeitgeist marching in the background,
no heavy ethos thrown over us like a cloak.

Instead, our meeting is so brief and accidental,
unnoticed by the monocled eye of History,
you could be the man I held the door for
this morning at the bank or post office
or the one who wrapped my speckled fish.
You could be someone I passed on the street
or the face behind the wheel of an oncoming car.

The sunlight flashes off your windshield,
and when I look up into the small, posted mirror,
I watch you diminish—my echo, my twin—
and vanish around a curve in this whip
of a road we can't help traveling together.

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