For the last two weeks, anyone glancing into my truck’s front seat would have glimpsed this open box and wondered “What’s THAT all about?” I’m here to tell you what it’s all about . . . .
Earlier this year, I decided to cancel my subscription to The New Yorker, a fabulous weekly (more or less) which for years a few friends, at different times in my life passed on to me. I subscribed about five years and found something to savor in almost every issue, even if it was only a cartoon or two, a vignette from “About the Town” or whatever the short pieces about places and personalities early into the pages was called. To make room for more issues, I removed especially enjoyable articles, cartoons, and for the final five years, every poem I found. Articles were saved before cartoons, but whenever there was a cartoon on a page 45 and a poem on a page 46, the poem prevailed. I even taped cartoons onto 3 hole punched plain paper and amassed four or five BINDERS full of them. Every one of them hit me in a good place. I set a high standard for what I chose to keep; the poetry, not so much. I also held onto favorite covers, most humorous and some downright profound. Some articles about Iraq — Seymour Hersch, incredible writer; Ken Auletta, “Shouts and Murmers” articles about historic and current artists and galleries. Musicians, comedians, politicians, including that fab story about Johnson on the day Kennedy died in Dallas — unforgettable.
Early into 2012 I decided to give every single issue of The New Yorker the same treatment. The only exceptions were the anniversary issues. They remain intact, not far removed from my cherished Christmas issues of Playboy. As I did, I tried to read every p0em at least twice. If I liked it, I set it aside for me. If I didn’t like it, I set it aside to share with other poets; exactly HOW I didn’t (and don’t) know . . . . yet. I’ll figure something out . . . . .
I’ve been throwing things away these days: things that haven’t mattered much for two or three years. Separating CDs that don’t move me from those that still do (hint Mozart’s flute concertos and choral material? FaGET it; they’re YOURS; the rest stays with me.)and giving them away at the airport museum to anyone who wants. The box full of The New Yorker keepsakes made it as far as the truck a few weeks ago. I was having a bummer of a morning anticipating another day at my employer and I just hated the world. I cleaned everything off my dining room table where I had begun to process articles, poems, ‘toons with scissors, tape and stapler, and after tamping them a few dozen pages at a time to get them to fit into that box, took them to the truck.
And there they have remained since early July. They will be there tonight. So if you want a bunch of super reading material, stop by and help yourself. The doors to the truck are never locked.
I have not yet decided what I would to do with them, and I would rather an erudite and intelligent thief make my decision for me while I sleep behind locked doors or while the truck awaits my return in the airport parking lot.
It’s extreeeeeeeeemly unlikely I will read 10 percent of what I saved . . . . a second time . . . ever. Ditto the poems. What do I need with another binder full of cartoons on the lower book shelves in my living room? Why bother? What the hell has the future ever done for ME? I’m not angry or bitter; just dribbling in place before breaking left or right and retreat past the 30 second line and run off minutes from the clock a little longer.
I’m in no rush.
Live long . . . . . . . . and proper.