Monday, March 9, 2015



My cats' hearing is so acute that when I pour a scoop of cat food onto the tray under my desk, cats on the far side of my backyard, about a third of a block away, come running to my front door. (For the first time ever--and over the last seventeen years I have had at least 100 feline visitors--I have two cats wanting to sit on my lap at the same time: I give Saint Francis and Samson five minutes of quality time every morning before breakfast.)

SADNESS OF THE YEAR: There is at the corner of my block a giant grapefruit tree that over the years has produced an almost year-round crop of the most delicious fruit I have ever tasted. I had eaten hundreds of them, picked from the sidewalk, until, alas, my cardiologist put me on Zocor, whose users, for some complicated chemical reason, are forbidden any grapefruit products. (Health can be hell!)

NOT A NEW RELIGION: After a month of bitterly depressing deafness, I finally got to see an audiologist. The removal of a lot of wax from both ears helped significantly, but the overall diagnosis is "presbyacusis." I will have a hearing aid in four months. It takes the state that long to process the insurance paperwork. In the meantime I will struggle valiantly with almost surrealistic things like being in a crowded restaurant and not hearing a sound. Fortunately, I can hear over the telephone, and classical music stations over the radio; and Jodyjoy speaks loudly when she says she loves me.

A BEGINNING: My reader in France, Anne-Francoise Kavauvea, wants me to write a poem. I do not know when I will be able to. For me poem-writing is usually a long, painful process, centered around the conflict between my academic obsession with syntactical correctness and the longing to let my demons scream and angels sing as they will. Even my humorous work passes through the crucible of my heart/soul's pain. Well, here is the first line of a future work (dedicated to the splendid scholar in Paris): "Why is there no scar, always to remind me,/where her tears fell on my shoulder?"

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