April 26th poem

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Poetics of Space

I sought attics and closets as a child and could often be found under a covered table or tucked behind a door. I hid in corners, under beds, and behind recliners—anywhere dark, snug, quiet, and out of view, as if. As if forgotten places could hold off the loud fading of Adult. As if I were looking for a maximum closeness, some limit or boundary that would batten me up, put a brake on the pulling apart and scattering of self into the world. And now, in rare minutes, in a quiet room at low light, I can still find some solid calm of lonely, a steady holding-it-together in my skin.    --Amanda Emerson

You know your family life was ok if you never had to hide in a closet.  I never had to hide in a closet. There are different levels of ok, and this is one.  When I was seven, we moved from an apartment into a rented house, and I had two twin beds in my room, in case of guests.  I got new comforters-- white with small yellow and orange flowers with black at the center.  I decided then that I liked the color yellow, though in the past I'd taken it as an affront.  That year for Easter, I woke up to a basket in my room-- candy and two LPs, Mickey Mouse Disco and Donna Summer's Bad Girls, which I loved.  What I was going to say is that I set up an office for myself in the closet.  I'm not sure I had many clothes, but I didn't notice that for a couple more years.  Maria Montessori speaks of the "prepared environment," how children respond to their surroundings and benefit from being able to manipulate real, utilitarian objects in their space.  It takes so little to make a soul.  An old kitchen chair and TV tray under a bare bulb.  A bowl of popcorn and some Kool-Aid.  A secondhand manual typewriter.  Kind regard.  A library card.  The chance to sit in one's closet alone staring into the middle distance for a bit, then beginning to type.  

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