We stayed up late, toggling between CNN and the Weather Channel (which I could watch every day just to see Carl Parker, how yummy he was back in Houston and how much yummier now) (but I digress), feeling increasingly, sinkingly awful about Katrina and her bead on New Orleans. . . I think Randy got up during the night to check the news. I slept poorly: dreamed of embarrasing classroom scenarios (you know the sort, kind of like forgetting-your-high-school-locker-combination dreams, only these are teaching dreams, in which a 19-year-old student asks a question about Ezra Pound and you suddenly can't recall a single effing thing that Pound wrote, or you're talking about a short story they've all been assigned to read and suddenly you realize that was your 1:00 class not your 3:00, or, or. . .) and the weather, none of which I clearly remember, my god what an endless sentence I've painted myself into, let's kill it HERE.
Woke with anxiety, which never really abated, even though it looked as if K was going to scrape N.O. instead of a full-on blast, but then there's the flooding to worry about, and Randy has family just north of Lake Ponchartrain (which I'm sure I've misspelled) and still (this evening) no one has gotten through to them.
But classes went well, spent today in the library for Blackboard orientation so they can turn in all their work online (I'm the worst paper-hoarder), and in my 3:00 I had time to do some other stuff afterward and to read a poem (today I chose Chris Forhan's "Bits & Pieces," from Forgive Us Our Happiness).
Caught up a bit at the end of the day with my friend Deirdre, who is back from Vermont (where I would love to go once more) with a fistful of new poems, hooray, and we're going to try to schedule an hour somewhere to trade poems and give time to our writing. (Back in Houston, the fortune cookie paper I saved, the scary one, said: Work expands to fill the time available.)
Phone call from my sis this evening, just after I walked home from campus: my dad's in the hospital. To be honest, I'm afraid to say anything about anything, lest the fates be tempted to respond with an "oh, yeah? Watch THIS." Just a gut-punch of a day. It took a couple of hours for the fear to catch up to me; my first response in situations like this is to turn cold and objective, a what-needs-to-be-done-next mode which is really pointless when you're 500 miles away.
I generally have no problem with being (somehow) 45, but I can't fucking believe how my parents are aging.
These chilling rehearsals.
Cynthia Neely: Hopewell Bay
1 week ago