Thursday, January 21, 2010
Weiser River Pillow Book #14
[Here’s the final installment of Eberle’s Weiser River Pillow Book—although some editing has been done along the way, the majority of the work is now available on Robert Frost’s Banjo, & the link to this writing will continue to appear in the sidebar for the foreseeable future.]
THINGS THAT SHOULD BE SHINY
The fake mother-of-pearl buttons on a rodeo shirt.
Windows on a mirrored glass skyscraper. When these are not shiny, it appears that the whole purpose of progress has failed.
Blackberries picked in late summer.
THINGS THAT SHOULD NOT BE SHINY
The interior of a church.
The front doorknob of a house surrounded by trees.
The smell of an empty school corridor lined with lockers above which are student drawings of ways to save the environment.
A trowel that has rusted with dirt still on it.
Chicory that has flowered close to the ground after being mowed.
An unmatched sock.
THINGS WORTH SEEING
Magpies landing outside the kitchen window after the first snowfall.
On the floodplain of a river, an abandoned house through which vines are growing and covering half the roof with leaves.
A county fair where there are many kinds of poultry and pigeons, also goats.
A forest three years after a wildfire has passed through it.
You are walking through the woods thinking how silent it is and how alone you are, and then you notice at the base of a huckleberry bush, a hairbrush, ruined by weather, the gold lettering on its back almost legible.
THINGS THAT MAKE YOU THINK OF SOMETHING ELSE
The sound of a refrigerator late at night can bring an aquarium to mind—the tiny bubbling treasure chest and diver never reaching it—the trapped light.
It is the middle of summer and you know there is no chance of rain. Nonetheless, a truck going by on the highway makes a sound like thunder and for a moment you shiver deliciously.
When the cottonwood trees are releasing cotton in the spring, it does look like snow in the air and yet does not bring winter to mind.
The plastic countertop where it has come loose from the edge of the kitchen sink,
The "Sealed For Your Protection" seals on aspirin and chopstick.
At a community meeting, sitting next to someone who bites his nails.
Gas stations and restaurants that are part of national chains, erupting in the rural landscape like the signs of an inevitable disease.
The image of oneself as a child.
On the verge of sleep, repeatedly, being awakened by imaginary alarm cries coming from the guinea hen coop.
When the sun has almost set behind the highway, a passing truck blocks the last of the light and the house goes dark for an instant longer than a blink.
THINGS THAT ARE NO BETTER THAN THEY SHOULD BE
The mop bucket.
Crocuses after their first bloom, especially the large kind.
One's girlhood crushes.
THINGS THAT ARE AT HOME IN THE WORLD
A robin standing on a fence post.
An old seeder rusting on a hillside above abandoned fields.
A dinghy moored in the small pool of a rock-crushing pit.
The desk and window in my studio.
An eagle's nest on top of a power pole.
THINGS THAT LOOK GOOD IN JARS
Dried beans—especially black garbanzos and striped lima beans you have grown yourself.
Coriander seed from the garden.
THINGS THAT DO NOT LOOK GOOD IN JARS
Scientific specimens of any kind.
Leftover tomato paste.
THINGS THAT GIVE THE SENSATION OF FALLING
Standing in a supermarket aisle surrounded by varieties of canned tomatoes that seem to have proliferated since the last time you were there. Varieties of breakfast cereal also create this sensation; varieties of tea, however, do not.
Thinking about a phone number you have lost.
Being about to fall asleep and waking suddenly.
PAIRS THAT GIVE PLEASURE
When the leaves of the cottonwood trees by the side of the highway are the exact same shade of yellow as the double line.
When the line of a jet trail in the eastern sky is the same color as the clouds around the setting sun.
How sometimes I hear the traffic on the highway above my house and it sounds just like a river.
Eating pears and grapes together.
LARGELY UNRECOGNIZED MASCULINIST ASSAULTS ON THE WORLD
All music on the radio.
All systems of measurement.
Women who give their children the last name of their husbands.
THINGS ON A GIANT SCALE
Rolls of hay stacked in shelters; three rolls on top looking like an enormous clover leaf.
Erosion on the side of a small hill can create the impression of a massive distant mountain range seen from above.
Near the spring that feeds the house under a wild plum tree, there is an ant-mound that is two feet high. In itself it seems strikingly large; still, the yellow plum leaf resting on it looks huge.
TWO TOWNS NORTH OF HERE
There are many more new cars. There are stores selling clothes for outdoor recreation.
There are no magpies, quail, or black widows. Very few cottonwood trees, lots of pine trees.
In the streams, caddis flies use bits of pine needles in their shell-casings.
When continuing a diary in a new notebook, the desire to make a gesture of formal introduction of some kind, however subtle or oblique. To whom?
The pleasure of shining the old chrome-covered clock-timer on the stove. It doesn't work, is not attractive, and yet the tenderness I feel for it never fails to spring up when I’m cleaning the stovetop.
THINGS DESIRED FOR A WHILE BUT NOT ACQUIRED
An extra steak knife.
Two large steel-covered bass drums.
THINGS DESIRED FOR A WHILE AND RECENTLY ACQUIRED
A blue enamel bucket to hold scraps for the chickens.
A medium-sized doumbek.
A jumper for fall. The perfect fall jumper is of medium weight, very soft, not binding anywhere. Long enough to give a feeling of serenity but still allowing for easy motion. It should not create a feeling of loudness or of primness.
THINGS THAT MARK A POINT IN TIME
Taking down the hammock.
Putting hats and mittens in a basket on the dryer.