Notebook, End of Summer, 2017

Stephen Kuusisto, Letters to Borges

I’m reading the youthful notebooks of a long dead Finnish communist poet and it’s raining in my neighborhood. I too desire houses for the poor and a joyful horse for each child. I want politicians to perform real work. Plant trees. Every day the President of the United States should be required to plant an apple tree before he can open his polluted yap which stinks of dollars and iodine. Meantime think of St Francis of Assisi, his death, what it means to our poems.


Seeing at the edge of daylight as the blind inevitably must. Thumbing through Goethe for balance.


Flaubert was essentially a psychologist. So was Stalin. And Jesus could have been also but he did all his studying in childhood. Poets should really understand the difference.


Razzle dazzle of nincompoop advertising, all that’s left of the USA. Quick! Act now! Buy your own murder! On sale!


Caruso took his mother’s hand once, the day his infant sister died—just the two of them on the steps of the church of Gesu Nuovo. They stood and looked across the piazza at the orange and yellow houses, so cheerful, the sky so impossibly clear, he thought there could be no limbo, no way station for the souls of innocent children. And his mother had removed her hand from his whispering “you are too warm.”


I love the voice of Enrico Caruso. All subsequent tenors want to be him. His was a voice of power, delicacy, warmth, and mystery. It’s the mystery everyone else lacks.


Opening old books to see if postcards fall out.


Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

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