Saturday, October 30, 2010

I had a book of poems by Cormac McCarthy. At first I was excited about it, but disappointment quickly supplanted my excitement: McCarthy was like Raymond Carver in that his poems weren't as good as his prose. In the dining room of a student coop where I used to live I threw the book away. Since it had become a large, bloody slab of plastic-wrapped beef, it hit the bottom of the trash barrel with a sickening plop. "You shouldn't throw it away," I thought. "You know how you are: you'll wish you had it back. Besides, the trash won't be taken out for weeks. The book will rot and stink." And I knew that throwing the book away would somehow make me a suspect in the recent disappearance of a ten-year-old boy. A drug-dealer--a fourteen-year-old boy with scraggly blond hair--approached me and, brandishing a knife, demanded the whereabouts of this missing boy. Then I was on the lam in the back seat of a car driven by one of my students. We were careening around slummy, nocturnal streets. Drug-dealers shouted jeers at us and pelted the car with garbage which my student windshield-wiped away.

2 comments:

Weave Dreamer said...

wow.

freak out.

what do you make of it?

David Grove said...

Maybe just "freak out." Or maybe it's about the anxieties aroused by teaching. For example, my occasional fears that because I'm eccentric/bohemian/single, I'm perceived as morally unfit to mentor young people, many of whom shock me with stories of the brutal and squalid circumstances from which they've emerged--or in which they're still submerged, in some cases. (Well, no, not "shock." They afflict me with a malaise.)The garbage-hurling and windshield-wiping clearly come from the film Taxi Driver. The rotting meatbook may come from something I said recently: "A stack of ungraded papers starts to smell like rotting meat." (I think I was cribbing Roethke.) A putrescent dream! Glad I woke up.