Saturday, October 25, 2008

This broken, beautiful world

Today was one of those days that just breaks your heart with beauty. Blue sky, a distinct chill in the air, brilliant sun punctuated with interesting clouds, and the trees in their full autumnal glory.

This morning I met with poets (and friends) Dory Lynch and Shana Ritter to plan our reading, which takes place two weeks from tonight. (7:00 pm on November 8 at Rachael's Cafe in Bloomington, for anyone close enough to make the trip!) This will be the official release party for Breach, as well as for Dory's chapbook Praising Invisible Birds (out any day now from Finishing Line Press). We are also celebrating Shana's recently-awarded grant from the Indiana Arts Commission. Dory and Shana are both terrific poets and good people, and I am looking forward to what should be a very enjoyable reading.

After our meeting I went over to the Bakehouse, where I chatted with a couple of librarian friends for a little while, then settled in with a breakfast burrito and a cup of coffee (and another cup of coffee, and another...) and some poetry. I ended up drafting two new poems for my "rockstar" series, one of which has our fearless protagonist getting together with a groupie in a hotel room after the show. Yikes! I didn't know I was going to go there. Had to happen, though. *grin*

And after that, I went and voted. Early voting is still relatively new in Indiana, but it's been a very popular option this year. Lucky for me, when I arrived there was absolutely no line, and I was in & out in about fifteen minutes total -- though when I left there was a pretty good line beginning to develop. As I drove home I found myself remembering an evening a little over four years ago, when I made a point of watching the Democratic convention because I'd heard there was some young Senator from Illinois whose keynote speech was expected to be brilliant. It was, of course, and I was tremendously moved by it, and found myself wishing I could vote for him for something someday. And today, I did.

Now, I live in a very blue town nestled in a fairly red state. When I drive to work in the mornings I could almost imagine I've been plunked down in the middle of an Obama yard-sign factory outlet. Most years, Bloomington is very different from the rest of Indiana. But this year, Indiana's acting suspiciously like a swing state. At one point I saw a poll that showed Obama up by ten points here. TEN points! This is a state that normally gets called for the Republicans about five minutes after the polls close. I can't help feeling that if Indiana is even close, Obama has a very good chance of actually winning. I don't want to go farther than that for fear of jinxing it... but I will admit that today I kissed his name on my ballot, for good luck. (Stop laughing. It can't hurt!)

Barack Obama is not perfect. He can't single-handedly save the world. Nobody can. But I think he's the best chance we've had in a long time to elect somebody who will make our country and our world a better place to live. I think he knows how to get ordinary people involved in helping to make things better. I think he is intelligent, articulate, thoughtful, and compassionate. He has a kick-ass wife, a million-watt smile, and terrific taste in music.

If he wins he'll also be the first President to be younger than me. That's a little scary, huh? I can learn to live with it though. You betcha.

* * * * *

Small bit of good poetry news: my humorous poem "Relax with Song of the Whales" has been accepted by the very cool online journal Sea Stories. Don't know when it will be up, but I'll let y'all know.


Lyle Daggett said...

Wishing great good fortune for the reading on the 8th. (I unfortunately won't be able to make it, inasmuch as I'll be reading with several other poets the same night here in Mpls.) Congratulations to all on the new and forthcoming books.

We don't have early voting here, except for absentee ballots, no idea how many people might be planning to do that this year. Guessing turnout will be huge at the voting places here on election day. I expect long lines at the the place where I vote -- I live in a densely populated and very liberal part of town.

Supposedly Minnesota has been something of a "battleground" state in recent years. There are some districts that have gotten somewhat conservative in the past 20 years or so, though overall the state still leans pretty strongly to the liberal side. Obama has been ahead of McCain in the state in every poll I've seen.

Today was the first snow of the season here -- just thin wet snow, the kind that melts as soon as it hits the ground, the ground isn't cold enough yet to keep any snow. And supposed to warm up gradually over the next few days. But won't be long now. In a typical year there's snow on the ground by Thanksgiving.

Word verification is "prashify." I think that should be a new catchword. You walk into a room at a party and announce, "Hey, all, I'm gettin' ready to prashify." Or, someone asks if you want to go hang at the local mall, and you lay back and say, "No thanks, not now, dude, I'm just gonna park myself here and do me some prashifyin'." Etc.

I think it has possibilities.

Peter said...

Anne: Have a great time at your book release reading. I've been enjoying reading Breach. Favorite poem so far: "Dx"

Collin Kelley said...

We must get you down here to Atlanta for a reading.

Emily A. Benton said...

congrats on everything - book release, poem published, swinging state!

we're hoping NC turns blue this year, too. very much the same feel in Charlotte with all the Obama supporters and signage. crossing fingers!

Anne said...

Lyle: Prashify! I love it. Sounds a bit soggy though.

Peter: Thank you! For some reason I'm pleased as punch that you picked that particular poem...

Collin: I need to visit my aunt there one of these days, so it could happen! I'm actually toying with the idea of taking a few days in the spring, renting a car, and driving down there in time to see the baby panda before he gets too big -- but it depends on the time-off situation, since I'm already taking vacation time for AWP. If any plans start percolating, I will drop you a line.

Emily: Thanks! Here's to turning blue (and I don't mean from the cold).