I’m in a cabin, somewhere down off 23 South, in North West Arkansas, no phone, wifi or interference from the outer world. Tall forest everywhere! To touch in with the outside world or announce The Sound Journal (the brand new on-line version Kyra and I put together thesoundjournal.org), I drive a few miles to the Carnegie library in the nearest town, Eureka Springs. California is as a dizzy flight or two away, like Oz was from Kansas. I know I’m a city girl when this place seems way more exotic than Marrakech, Morocco. How about this Palace Hotel sign on the old 1901 brothel?
And take those two upside-down armadillos we drove past this morning – well, drove past one, then spun around to take his or her photo, there in the right lane. Wendy TC, my gracious host, was telling me what they do to gardens when they are among the living. There is a frantic kind of digging for what they need, insects and worms – like when you can’t find your keys or glasses and you might miss a flight if you don’t go right now. An armadillo can be described as a cross between a big-tailed vole and a raccoon wearing a tortoise shell back-pack.
We went to a barn party a couple of nights ago, thrown by a giant puppeteer – the puppets are giant, the man, George, is just tall. His enormous puppets are mounted on the walls; gravel covers the floor. We were celebrating Barbara’s birthday. Most were wearing tie-dye and the food was good. I never met Barbara, but joined in the large circle, singing happy birthday. I liked the outhouse there. The sound system opened with Jimmy Hendricks’ Purple Haze. We were of the age where some of us had actually heard Jimmy Hendricks play, like at Winterland in 1968.
But the real reason I am here is to write poetry with uninterrupted happiness for hours. I’ve got a small kitchen, AC, and my best writer friend, Wendy TC is in the next cabin. I’ll be going to the library to post this. Now, back to my last version of my new poem, “Just Who Do You Think You Are?” Where was I?
Ready for a few words from Walt….
“I have perceiv’d that to be with those that I like is enough,/ To stop in company with the rest at evening is enough,/ To be surrounded by beautiful, curious, laughing flesh is enough,/ To pass among them, or touch anyone, or rest my arm ever so lightly around his neck or her neck for a moment – what is this then?/ I do not ask any more delight – I swim in it as in a sea….”
Walt Whitman, excerpt, I Sing The Body Electric 4.