Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Aimless Reading: The F's, Part 7 (Annie Finch)


Calendars
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Finch, Annie
Calendars


Given to me by the author on visit to Maine in July of 2007.

Lori's GMC Jimmy, a hulking behemoth of an SUV that she used for work, was dying a painful and expensive death in the spring of 2007. Almost on a whim, we drove to a dealership in Grand Island, NY and traded it in for a pile of debt and a used Honda Element. We almost immediately got a yen to take it on the road and within a few weeks drove out to Maine to visit Jonathan Skinner and Isabelle Pelissier, who'd moved there a year earlier so Jonathan could take up his teaching post at Bates College.

I think we spent 4 or 5 days there, maybe less, I can't quite recall. One night Jonathan Jonathan invites all of the poets living nearby over for a meal. Annie Finch and her partner, whose name I forget, was there, and Gary Lawless and Beth Leonard, owners of Gulf of Maine Books Brunswick, and Jim Koller and his wife, Maggie (Brown, I think, is her last name, forgive me for forgetting again).

We had a fine meal and talked about poetry all night long. I remember Annie said she was getting ready to go away for the month of August in order to write in some secluded place with little connection to the outside world.

I am not sure what it was about this particular trip, but it caused a very strong feeling in me that we needed to leave the place we were living. About half way between Maine and Buffalo, I blurted out to Lori that we had to sell our house, which we had rehabbed for three years and had been living in for five. I wasn't sure if that meant we needed to leave Buffalo or not, but I knew for sure that we needed to sell our house in Black Rock.

Immediately upon our return we called the real estate agent, who told us to wait until after Labor Day -- about 5 weeks -- before putting it on the Market. In the intervening days, all kinds of horrible things began to happen.

The house two doors down -- in which lived a family of Iragis from Basra, who had left to escape the war, and whose 18-year-old son had been accidentally murdered at a party six months before-- burned to the ground.

Someone broke out the window of the house across the street. It was replaced by a board.

There was a drive by shooting on the block directly behind our house.

To top it off, there was much talk in the papers about opening a group home for level three sex offenders right down the street.

All of this before the house went up for sale!

Our answer to all of this was to get in the Element and spend a month driving around the country, doing a few readings out west in support of my then-new book, hoping the house would sell while we were gone. It didn't, and we spent the next four months in agony, convinced that it would not sell, or that if it did, we would lose our shirts on it. Neither happened. We broke even and moved to an apartment and then to a new house in a different neighborhood nine months later.

So far so good.

from Calendars

Landing Under Water, I See Roots

All the things we hide in water
hoping we won't see them go–
(forests growing under water
press against the ones we know)–

and they might have gone on growing
and they might now breathe above
everything I speak of sowing
(everything I try to love).

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