Ron Paulson “Crow Creek” in First Person Plural edited by Judith Fitzgerald. It is sharp. And wise. Recall doesn’t lead to nostalgia. It looks forward to the telling of the story. Here are the last three stanzas:
There probably isn’t enough creek left
to produce a sense of loss as my grandfather
felt his lost manhood and I my boyhood
and there’s nothing left for me in the factory farm
but dust and ammonia.
There is something exaggerated
about my sentimentality, however.
I never saw the farm when is was unbroken prairie
covered with buffalo, not to mention when it was an inland sea
hunted by plesiosaurs.
When I first saw it the creek was polluted
with agricultural run-off and the pheasant my grandfather shot
had ancestors on the steppes of Asia.
But, we make
our myths, I guess,
from what we have
Doing this entry lead to a search for Ron Paulson, the Kingston bookseller. The search netted a hit to this bit from George Fetherling [The Writing Life: Journals, 1975-2005] which is told either with chagrin or antipathy — difficult to judge the true motive of an outing.
But he was a fine poet, in my view, and a firm friend of poetry. I always felt sad that he only ever came but partway out of the closet. To my knowledge, he always lived alone, never a stable relationship with another man. But then 20 years ago […] I remember what Ron Paulson, the Kingston bookseller, told me once of having some rough trade come into his shop in the morning to sell books obviously stolen from Tom’s shelves while Tom slept.
There is myth work to be done here in rereading Marshall’s oeuvre for hints of queerness.
And so for day 1238