I’ve got a poem for you, a very short one, he promised with a garrulous grin, and then, in a long-winded introduction in which all the masters of brevity were cited, he proceeded to demolish the very notion of shortness. The poem took ten seconds, the intro five minutes.
There was this kid who stood at the back of the class
When I came to read my poems
And whenever I got boring he’d rotate
His arms like the blades of a helicopter
& the more I banged on the faster
His arms would whir
Until it looked like he’d take off
His teacher and the other kids paid him
In the pause between poems he’d say,
You done yet?
And I’d say,
And he’d say, Good and slow down.
And when I stopped, he’d stop.
The eagle had landed.
Whenever I do a reading I see
That kid at the back
His arms set to rotate.
It keeps me honest.
I was reading about Miss Jean Brodie
About her being in her prime
her ‘owning’ the stage
Of the classroom
With the forty girls sitting in rows
Looking and listening
& I thought
How much blogging is like this
How each of us
Performs on the platform of the page
Seeking to impress
to stand out
To make our ‘mark’ upon
The rows and rows of readers
& how one day
A fellow blogger
Will remember our performances
And memorialize us
As Muriel Spark did Miss Kay
“You’re like Lee Chandler,” she said.
“Lee Chandler, the guy Casey Affleck plays in ‘Manchester by the Sea.’”
Jackson liked that film but he did not like Lee Chandler, the way he closed himself off from people.
“That saddens me.”
“That you’re like Lee Chandler or that I mentioned it?”
“The reason I brought it up is that I asked you if you’d like to see Anne perform and you said you’d give it a miss though I made it clear I’d like you to go.”
“I know. I’ve thought it over and would like to go see her perform.”
“Because you want to or because you’re afraid of being compared to Lee Chandler?”
It was a little late, Jackson admitted. It would have been better if he’d said so straight off but at least it was a move towards empathy. She would have to give him that.