April 5th poem

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Case Studies

"[A]ll those happy hippie plans gone awry."
--Eleni Sikelianos, The Book of Jon

When I was a kid, we were always doing things like going to visit some angry guy with a bushy beard in the woods who couldn't finish his half-tree house mountain retreat dreamscape because his father wouldn't turn over the damn money.  There was always a farm sold out from under someone else and the disappearing funds.   The disappointed older generation with their hairdos and handbags, and the disappointing younger generation with their hippie-dippy anger.  Still, we rode up into the mountains on the border of NC and TN to check in on the simmering, under-realized utopias, the burlap and health food feel of it all.  The world wasn't really that different.  The women were still in the kitchen.  My family had no money and so the anger was more diffuse, or was actually just humor mixed with sadness, a dash of resentment.  Then my mother went back to grad school.  She thought she was turning me into a social scientist by leaving all those case studies of pygmies and schizophrenics around-- I read anything-- but I observed too much to fit between the rails of discipline.  My idea of narrative drifted, listed, became loose and unstructured, tending toward poetry, all of it much too qualitative and speculative to win many government grants.  Oh, well. 

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