Monday, January 1, 2018


 January 1, 2018: NEW YEAR, NEW MAN

          Politics? People much more knowledgeable than me are covering the ground very well. I recommend anything my friend Lucian Truscott IV writes on the subject.

          I won't give politics up entirely, but my life has changed. We bought a new house, sold the old. Now we live a mile east from our previous house, we back on a wooded preserve, oak trees cover our back yard and part of our front, we don't have a lawn, can't grow a garden, and it completely changed my life. For one thing, a muse has perched on my shoulder, apparently, and I'm writing poems again. Lots of them. In my old age. Who would have thought it? And they're good, too. A total surprise. The interior of our old house was furnished like an old house, with traditional things, a wing chair to read in, an old oak chair, a Morris chair, a library table, a kind of open cabinet for our vinyl records that I made myself, a large Spanish Renaissance style of dining room table, and six bookcases floor to ceiling. Plus a leather couch. We still have the couch, it's a Herman Miller, and the table for our vinyl records, and the Morris chair is now in my office, but everything else is new--and Midcentury Modern. A longtime dream of Lorraine's. Now she has it. My son has the library table, made about 1810. The wing chair went to Junk. So did the dining room table. We still have the bookcases, of course, but I sold and donated 1,000 of the books.

          Wild turkeys come to our feeder. We have light in the house, a great deal, with skylights, very large windows, and a kind of spareness.

          I'm reading more than I have in years. Borges. American history. "Ancilla to the Pre-Socratic Philosophers." I'm reading more poetry. Ford's The Good Soldier, one of the great novels, last read in college. The metaphysical poets of the 17th century. A book about the role of gold in American history. TV becomes less and less interesting. Soon, the Letters of John Keats, which I have in the great Hyder Rollins edition, two volumes. All of this reminds me that I came out of a tradition, a long one, European and American civilization and its byways. I just bought David Ferry's translation of the Aeneid, which I've never read. David Ferry is the best translator of the classics in our time. These are my sources, my identity. These are the things that were revelations when I first came across them, these are the things that recognized who I was.

          It feels like I've come home at last.

          When I write this blog in the future, then, these are the kinds of things I'll be writing about. For the few who follow me, be warned. You can only score so many points against Donald Trump. Being so shallow a human being, so little and petty a person, there's only so much you can say about him before you exhaust the subject. He will be known as our worst and most destructive president, doing his best to destroy 80 years of progress, starting with Social Security, moving on to the basic institutions the nation has evolved since the Great Depression, and hugely diminishing our global role. The American dream is dead. It's time to wake up from it. Me, I'm going back to the future.