Yoda sends Luke into that place
of swamp and root and snake,
a test to see if he can face
truth, stare it down without
wanting to saw it in half
with light. Sometimes darkness
breathes like a volcano, looks
like your father, wrecked
by loss. What force can keep
a man moving when the woman
he’s loved for 62 years can’t
remember the song they danced
to on their wedding day?
He rises at 2 a.m., clamps on a mask,
searches the galaxies
for rebel moons and ice planets,
outposts where memories hole
up to fight a losing battle.
Luke fails his test, lets
himself be pulled into
the gravity of his dad’s collapsing
star. There is no noise when love
dies. It just slips away, winks
out, its final light reaching you
years after it’s gone.
Today's episode of Classic Saint Marty first aired two years ago, but its sentiments are certainly not dated at all.
March 15, 2013: Same Stuff, Big Glass Cases, Different P.O.E.T.S. Day
I took my old hunting hat out of my pocket while I walked, and put it on. I knew I wouldn't meet anybody that knew me, and it was pretty damp out. I kept walking and walking, and I kept thinking about old Phoebe going to that museum on Saturdays the way I used to. I thought how she'd be different every time she saw it. It didn't exactly depress me to think about it, but it didn't make me feel gay as hell, either. Certain things should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone. I know that's impossible, but it's too bad anyway. Anyway, I kept thinking about all that while I walked.
Holden repeats himself a lot. Much of it has to do with the spoken quality of Salinger's narrative voice in The Catcher in the Rye. People repeat themselves in verbal interactions. Casual conversation is sloppy. In the above paragraph, Holden uses several words and phrases more than once: "knew" appears twice in the same sentence; "walking and walking" in the third sentence, along with "kept"; "thinking about" and "think about" and "kept thinking about"; and the last word of the entire passage is "walked," echoing the earlier "walking and walking."
There is a point to my little paragraph parsing. I think Holden's repetition reflects his urge to keep things the way they are, "in one of those big glass cases." He's trying to hold on to a life that's slipping through his fingers. He's already lost his little brother, and he doesn't want to lose anything more. That's one of the qualities of Catcher that has kept it so popular for over 60 years. Salinger is able to capture that teenage angst about growing older. We're all Holden.
I'm Holden right now. I look at my twelve-year-old daughter and have moments of quiet grief for the little girl who came into my life one snowy December morning over a decade ago. I find shirts she used to wear when she was three and four. "Daddy's Little Girl" and "Daddy's Princess." I want to put her in one of those big glass museum cases, keep her young, untouched by that big old bully Time. I want to be my daughter's catcher in the rye.
That's pretty heavy stuff for P.O.E.T.S. Day. I'm supposed to be all "fuck it, tomorrow's Saturday." I can't do that this morning. I'm in a reflective mood, a little sad and thoughtful. I've been like this all week long. When I got home last night, I was in such a bad mood that I didn't talk much for over an hour. My son was in bed, and my daughter spent the night at my parents' house. It wasn't my "normal" Thursday night. Perhaps that's why I wanted to kick a puppy. I was "out of sorts," as they would say at Hogwarts.
There's something to be said for museums, where the past is preserved and held sacred. Everything stays the same. I'm with Holden on this one. That kind of stability is comforting.
Put Saint Marty under glass. He's ready for his exhibit.
|I'm the tall, good looking one in the fur coat|
Confessions of Saint Marty