Sunday, December 18, 2016

December 18: Christmas Decorating, Classic Saint Marty, "Before 4:30 Mass"

I'm a little tired tonight.  I spent most of the afternoon decorating my parents' home for Christmas.  Cleaning and hauling and assembling and stringing.  I started around one o'clock this afternoon, and I just finished.  It's a little after 7 p.m.  My father actually shook my hand and thanked me. 

One week until Christmas.  The last really big project I have to finish is my Christmas poem.  I have an idea for it.  Now, it's just about the writing.  Hopefully, I'll get a start on it tonight.  Finish it by Tuesday and Wednesday.  And then there's the Christmas shopping to get done.

It seems like this is the time of year to worry about stuff.  Three years ago, I was preoccupied by worry, too.

December 18, 2013:  Interrupt My Worrying, Waste of Time, Headaches and Knots

...I probably was still looking out the window, but I swear I can't remember.  I was so damn worried, that's why.  When I really worry about something, I don't just fool around.  I even have to go to the bathroom when I worry about something.  Only, I don't go.  I'm too worried to go.  I don't want to interrupt my worrying to go...

I'd forgotten about this little passage.  Holden worries.  About Jane and Allie and Phoebe.  He worries about kids on the playground and "fuck you" graffiti in a grade school.  He worries so much that he ends up having a breakdown.  Catcher is really a portrait of Holden's mind unraveling.  Because he's "so damn worried."

I spent all day waiting to hear bad news.  I don't need to go into detail.  My point is that I wasted about twelve hours.  Worry doesn't really accomplish anything.  It's a pointless exercise.  Nothing really bad happened to me today, except for the fact that I gave myself a huge headache and knots in my shoulders.

I've always been a worrier.  I believe that, if I expect the worst, and the worst doesn't happen, I've somehow won a battle.  That doesn't mean that the worst won't happen tomorrow.  However, I can't really control anything about tomorrow.  Pretty much, all I have control over is the next word I type.  I know, when I'm done with this post, I'm going to work on a poem.  Then, I hope to get to bed a little early tonight.  That's what I have control of tonight.

Saint Marty's going to leave tomorrow to the worriers.

I forget this sometimes

Before 4:30 p.m.

by:  Martin Achatz

I look down from the choir loft
At the silence gathered below.
Mrs. MacDonald wears her wool coat
In the same pew she sat in
With her parents, seventy years ago.
She looks behind her, as if she expects
Her father to march up the aisle,
Sit next to her, his boots
Still red with dust from the mines.
Father George flits from person-to-person,
Like a hummingbird in an apple tree,
Pausing long enough to taste
The blossom of each sinner's grief
Before moving on.  My daughter, white
Acolyte, lights candles on the altar,
Checks chalice and paten, makes sure
Gospel and cloth are in place
For the coming show.  So much quiet
Desperation fills the sanctuary,
Everyone craving a piece of holiness
To bring home, bake with eggs and oatmeal,
Spaghetti and meatloaf for the week.
I reach down, press the red button.
The pipe organ takes a long breath,
Groans to life, resurrected again.
It waits for my fingers, holds
Music in its gold pipes that reach
Up and up to the vaulted ceiling,
To the bell in the steeple.  It waits
For that low D of the first hymn,
Voices rising like seagulls
Above the waves of Galilee.

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Voting for Poet Laureate of the U. P.

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