Today I decided to go to one of our local township libraries, East Cheltenham. It’s about 10 minutes from home. I haven’t gone here on a regular basis in some time, since my health issues, I guess, though in the past, much more – I took a yoga class in the building for a while and always stopped at the library. I’ll tell you right now, I’ll be making more of an effort, because today reminded me how much I like this library.
This section of Cheltenham Township is known as Cheltenham Village. It’s a grid filled with small single and twin houses. The library is set right in among them on Myrtle Avenue.
The library is really comfortable and friendly. It’s housed in a community center – which is a converted elementary school. The library is in the 1964 addition and is a long narrow room with many windows.
I parked the car and came in through the side entrance, down the hall to the library.
As soon as I came in, I saw one of the librarians – I’ve known her for years. We had a conversation to catch up on things. I felt welcomed.
All right. I settled into work at a table in the back.
I started off, as I like to do, with writing poems as quick and intuitively as I can, just writing, not worrying about getting things just right. I will edit later on. I find this method really is great for getting ideas on paper – the more I write, the more ideas and words seem to flow.
After that session, taking about an hour, I worked on a couple of poems needing just a touch-up to be done.
Then, it was time to see what today’s surprise poetry work would be. As I did yesterday, I numbered my list – today I chose by using the time-honored eeny meeny miney mo. And the topic was… “Epic”.
“Epic”, to me, is a catchall project I’ve been adding to over the past couple of years. The title is tongue-in-cheek, certainly. It’s a collection of somewhat longer, somewhat narrative, somewhat stream-of-consciousness poetry-like writing – no common theme, just a place to put this kind of work, really.
I had it on my list because I wanted to do something with it or throw it out and forget it. My task today was to read it over and decide its fate.
I spent a good bit of time reviewing. I decided that it has a lot of good material to work with, but I don’t see it ever hanging together enough to be an entity, if you know what I mean. I don’t have the interest in creating such a thing, either. So, what I plan to do is break it up into parts and let each one stand on its own as a poem. I am happy with this resolution. Now that I know what I want to do with the material, I feel more excited about working with it.
OK! So I have decided to include an excerpt from the “Epic” (as it is for a little while longer).
I open my umbrella.
I bought this umbrella at a stand on the street the last time
it rained. I doubt I will still have it
when it rains the next time. Umbrellas do not linger.
I scuttle along the sidewalk.
From the vantage point of across the street and five stories up
I see myself
a pair of legs under a black umbrella
If I were across the street and five stories up
I imagine that is what I would see
and so I see it behind my eyelids
even as I move along the street.
My feet are wet inside my thin-soled shoes.
I cannot imagine away my wet feet and I do not try.
Someone is across the street and five stories up
I doubt that person is looking at me.