a break from all the whatislove

or maybe not…mmm

writer’s almanac, wednesday 11 february

Confusion of the Senses
by Kenneth Rexroth

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Moonlight fills the laurels
Like music. The moonlit
Air does not move. Your white
Face moves towards my face.
Voluptuous sorrow
Holds us like a cobweb
Like a song, a perfume, the moonlight.
Your hair falls and holds our faces.
Your lips curl into mine.
Your tongue enters my mouth.
A bat flies through the moonlight.
The moonlight fills your eyes
They have neither iris nor pupil
They are only globes of cold fire
Like the deer’s eyes that go by us
Through the empty forest.
Your slender body quivers
And smells of seaweed.
We lie together listening
To each other breathing in the moonlight.
Do you hear? We are breathing. We are alive.
“Confusion of the Senses” by Kenneth Rexroth from Sacramental Acts. © Copper Canyon Press.

It’s the birthday of novelist and travel writer Pico Iyer (books by this author), born to Indian parents in Oxford, England (1957). After college, he spent a year working in a Mexican restaurant in the U.S., disguising himself as a Mexican. Then he and a friend went on a trip from California through Central America to Bolivia. He later said: “It’s a great thing to take a journey like that when you’re seventeen or eighteen because you’re relatively reckless and you don’t really know what the dangers are. And then once you’ve done it, anything seems possible.”

He went to graduate school at Harvard, and during the summers he got a job writing for a budget travel guidebook. He traveled around England, France, Italy and Greece, living on almost no money and sleeping in the gutters and under bridges. He covered a different town each day, walking its streets and taking notes in the morning and afternoon and writing it up in the evening.

After graduating, he got a job working for Time magazine. He sat in a cubicle all day and wrote articles about places like the Philippine jungles and the Andes Mountains, from reports he got from other writers. He finally got fed up with office work and took a vacation to Southeast Asia. He fell in love with the place and decided to take a six-month leave of absence. He spent the first three months traveling through 10 Southeast Asian countries and the next three months writing the draft of his first book, Video Nights in Katmandu (1988). He’s since published several more books, including the novel Abandon: A Romance (2003).

Pico Iyer said: “The less conscious one is of being ‘a writer,’ the better the writing. And though reading is the best school of writing, school is the worst place for reading. Writing should … be as spontaneous and urgent as a letter to a lover, or a message to a friend who has just lost a parent … and writing is, in the end, that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.”

And, “Home is whatever you can rebel against.”

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®