So I ended up looking at this poem by Mary Oliver, Wild Geese
- You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
It goes on for a bit. I’m no judge of poetry. I can like a poem without knowing, would a critic laugh at it? Laugh at me for liking it?
Tell me about despair, yours, she writes, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Sitting at the dinner table last night, fucking tired, my mother-in-law says, “what’s wrong? You… I dunno.”
I said I was tired.
“Sad. He’s sad,” she said. “He’s sad,” Gamma repeated, and asked me why.
I don’t know if I’m sad. Am I sad? Do I miss my wife? That would be okay, since she gets home tomorrow. Because my new car has been in the shop all week and I was too stupid to insist on a loaner car and am now too embarrassed to raise the issue with them? That’s actually okay, I’ve been able to hang out with Beta on the train, mornings, and chat a little, and training is more relaxing than driving, and I get a nice walk in the morning, and there was a pileup on my route yesterday and the freeway was closed until 10AM, so the train hasn’t been all bad, actually.
Maybe it’s November. Maybe it wasn’t the usual fog that was depressing people, maybe it’s simply the month, and you’re depressed in November because the days are shorter or something, whether or not you have nasty fog or pretty snow, like this week.
Probably I just need coffee. Or to see a formation of geese fly overhead, if I could manage not to think about avian flu jokes. Harsh and exciting.
There’s more to it than all that, of course. It’s just hard for me to access sometimes.
What do you want, soft animal? What do you love?
Not that soft animal, man.