Sunday, October 11, 2009

Out on the weekend

New to UMKC's new MFA program, but not in a workshop this semester, I don't really know any of the other candidates. Except for Phil Estes, who I met at a party at the end of the summer, five days before my wife and I had our daughter. Which is to say I was, in some ways, a different man six weeks ago.

Phil and I had beers Friday night at Chez Charlie. Seated along the wall to the right of one of the dartboards, we had the place to ourselves for the duration of the first two cans of beer. Phil is from Dayton, OH, so we talked about Midwestern cities that might have been grand. Phil writes poems that some might categorize as experimental, so we talked to great lengths about certain experiments we admire and others we don't so much. We did so with little excess noise. And with relatively little danger to ourselves. Then the tables started to fill up with loud talkers. Loud talking leads to louder talking, of course, and soon we had to nearly yell our shop talk. Then, to add anxiety to annoyance, the dangerously bad darts players showed up. One woman took pride in her drunken throws. I mean, she was throwing her darts toward the board as if they were steak knives meant for the torso of her most recent ex-husband. The darts that did not pierce the faux wood paneling behind my head rained down at our feet. A balding man, I kept imagining one achieving a perfect score. It wasn't such a big deal, I guess. But it had been six weeks, six weeks since Audrey's birth, since I'd been out for drinks with a friend. Right now, my life needs a little more danger in it.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

white envy

Teaching, grad schooling, and caring for an infant, all on 3 to 5 hours of sleep, ain't no joke, son. Life is full but good. Fall has been kind to Kansas City--maybe it's just my sleep deprivation, but the weather has moved along more seamlessly this year. No hot spots in the middle of a week of crisp air. The next two to three sentences are neither here nor there. But our most enviable neighbors, in a of show seasonal abundance, have lined up nine pumpkins, several of which are heirloom, along the brick railing of their gorgeous redbrick colonnade. The colonnade porch overlooking their gorgeously landscaped herb garden and flowers. We watch this couple head out, childless, for a stroll to the River Market, or roll away in their Honda Element around dinnertime, and since they're roughly our age, it's tempting to imagine ourselves the way we were before. It's tempting to hate them a little. But we're not hateful. Envious, yes. Envious with a generous pinch of admiration. The Russians called this shade of envy White Envy.

I wonder if they envy our present source of bliss: