Friday, April 3, 2009

The Quiet House

Rainy, just the way it's sposed to be in April. Good for the plants, you can practically hear everybody's roots slurpin it up. The buffleheads out on the lake don't mind -- this is their kind of weather -- but the crows appear pissed. Corvids are said to be the brainiest of birds. My books are quiet this morning, they apparently have nothing to say to me. Big stacks all around. Maybe they're miffed that I still haven't properly shelved them. The fiction is especially quiet and has been for a while. What happened to those noisy Poles -- Konwicki, Gombrowicz, Schulz, Witkiewicz -- and subtle Czechs -- Kundera, Klima, Hrabal? Surely they're still alive in between those covers, arguing amongst themselves.

Gunther Grass? Silent as a potato. Handke? A limp coil of rope. I stare at a copy of Headhunter by Uwe Timm. When did I read it? Was that the one with the guy on the lam ends up in South America? Or am I thinkin of a Herzog movie? Auden said, take the OED to a desert isle. Maybe it'd be the King James Bible for Barry Hannah. Would anyone take a novel along and risk that it go silent? Not likely, poot.

I wish I had more energy -- it's a perfect day to curate fiction. But the silence spooks me. You think these stories are over and done with? Or maybe it's me, too distracted to hear what they're attemptin to say, too concerned with taxes and insurance and phone bills and findin a job. Down in Durham, Long Tom's wife told me she keeps the stereo on cause of her tinnitus -- maybe that's what I oughta do. Put on Mahler's Second Symphony and listen to it blend with the sound of fallin rain. And believe everything will bloom again.

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