Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Late At Night


What pleasure there is in sitting up on the sofa at night smoking cigarettes, having a small last drink and petting the dogs, reading Virgil’s sublime Georgics, seeing a girl’s bare bottom on TV that you will likely never see again in what they call real life, remembering all the details of when you were captured by the indians at age seven. They gave you time off for good behavior but never truly let you go back to your real world where cars go two ways on the same streets. The doctors will say it’s bad for an old man to stay up late petting his lovely dogs. Meanwhile I look up from Virgil’s farms of ancient Rome and see two women making love in a field of wildflowers. I’m not jealous of their real passion trapped as they are within their exhausting days and big incomes that have to be spent. Lighting a last cigarette and sipping my vodka I examine the faces of the sleeping dogs beside me, the improbable mystery of their existence, the short lives they live with an intensity unbearable to us. I have turned to them for their ancient language not my own, being quite willing to give up my language that so easily forgets the world outside itself.

“Late” is a poem by Jim Harrison from In Search of Small Gods (2009)

Harrison is the author of forty-one books that include poetry, fiction, essays, reviews, and writing on food. He is the author of the novella Legends of the Fall, which was made into a movie with Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins. A native of Michigan, Harrison divides his time between Arizona and Montana.

1 comment:

  1. Nice short post. And really what else needs to be said about the ability of Harrison as a writer? Will now have to do a treasure hunt for his books among the stacks and shelves and loaded-down bookcases in the garage. Fine writer for a very long time.


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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America