Sunday, May 1, 2011
The Other Brad
The First time I read Brad Leithauser it was years ago and I was in a little bookstore near Chicago called the Frugal Muse. There he was hiding among the poetry books a true diamond needle in the haystack of discarded poetry finds. I started reading and couldn't stop and this little paperback has been on my bedside table since. He is a true wordsmith and so you can take the Brads of the world on the big silver screen who tote a hoard of children around with them around the globe, I'll take this one. If you haven't ready "The Mail From Anywhere" I recommend it as you can find it on Amazon too inexpensive for words and you'll treasure it as I do and then be off to find "Curves and Angles." Leithauser uses words like musical instruments and I get lost in the them. A graduate of Harvard, I read to find out he married a poet and that made me smile all the more. The poem of his I really want to share with you is my favorite poem of all time. It's romantic and sad and wonderfully charming. It sings like a song that goes on and on and as is with Love, it's touching to the core, if you are missing someone or just the "idea" of someone. Be warned though that when t hat someone you are missing shows up, it's like you've never seen the sky before. The color change, the songs sound sweeter and now when I read this very touching fine work of poetic art, I just light a little candle of melancholy for those still looking.
Harmless, no doubt,
because hopeless no doubt, yet far
From Hurtless, this nightly not
Being where you are --
Where, somewhere, you go right on being
That miraculously out-
Fitted and not quite conceivably
Tactile matter of yourself, Seeing
How this having you constantly not here
Appears to be my vacant lot
In life, why so implausible, then --that with the mere
Business of breathing, the body's slow
Expulsion of what has turned out to be
Useless, you'd truly disappear? But no-
No means, no hope
Of shaking you, though you're not here,
Days, days on end, no end, and so fully aware that I'm
Aware of just how perfectly absurd
It is-- how, ever, you pull on me, so though
A magnet to every tiny-toothed gear
And staple, brad and screw, all the drill-
Bits and fishooks, the hammer claws
And awls, and the metal rope.
Wrenches, vises, planes, rasps, and circular saws
in my belly...When, some nights ago, I heard
A summons that withdrew during my climb
Toward, wakefulness, until
I knew it was come from no
But some dream hook-up, I can't explain just
How desolating that was -- only ask you to think
Of a phone ringing to wake the dead in some low-
Ceilinged office whose shades are drawn,
Some Bureau of Incorporations, Inc.,
Some annex of your local Heartfelt Loan,
Ltd., long hours after everyone's gone
Home. No doubt it's some mistake and our
Caller hasn't a prayer of bringing
Anyone to the receiver at this hour,
But still it goes on, that shaded ringing...
Still it all goes on, and still, my dear. I just
Say that I can't say you've brought no
Pleasure to me--
Pleased, anyhow, at having you enrich
My sense of worlds surrounding ours, in which
(Wouldn't you know?) we are invariably
Lovers, still, still no good...No good, you see,
Unless you see, and I don't think you do,
How daily, you're so painfully untrue
To all those worlds, and what a weight for me
It is, night after night, to field the same
Fatinguingly, fresh petulant demands
For entrance to that room -- really not so far--
Where you and I are shyly are
Undressing and you, yes whisper my name,
And I take your head in my hands.
Just typing it out here I am still moved and then when you read it out loud, and of course you must you get lost in the emotion of it. Miraculously outfitted and not quite conceivable tactile matter of yourself. Can you imagine a better compliment to someone? A more loving statement? To like someone so much that like turns to love and that love to you becomes a miracle? You almost want to hate him for making you believe it's possible to feel that way about someone until you do and then I wanted to find him and take him to dinner and wait just wait for him to say something that wonderful again.
So the other Brad of the world is THE Brad of the world to a woman who is full of romance. Everyone has a favorite poem, and yours is mine.
If you read his other poetry you will find stories of foreign lands, breathing an air unfamiliar and full of images that will send your head into another place. There is a poem in the same book called Your Natural History and I will let you find it for yourself hoping you will pop for the book but this lover he wakes in the middle of the night and when watching the woman he loves sleeping by the fire leans over to write FIRE on the window in the steam. Yes, he needed to write that word to save that moment. Since I've learned to type when I am having a moment like that I can feel my fingers type out a word, passion, faith, hope, sadness, fear but never Fire, fire is his, this lover he wrote of the lover who started the fire, who woke in the cold and couldn't decide whether to let her sleep or start two fires. What a lovely thought, a truly lovely thought. This week I will find the one who reads what I write and remind him he's a miracle.
I was dusting my bookshelf when I sat and read The Mail from Anywhere all over again, savoring each page like melting chocolate in your mouth, missing my Best Friend and our wanderings through bookstores. And then in my ipod after a little Neil Young, Shawn Mullins is singing and I really love this song, what a great Sunday afternoon. Souls Core is one of my favorite albums. He reminds me of someone different each time I hear him sing. I included Lullabye down there too so you'll recognize him.
Someone recently sang me a lullably and it was remarkable. Everythings going to be alright, rockabye, rockabye. Everythings going to be alright Rockabye, Rockabye, Rockabye. Sometimes that's all you have to hear.