There are people in the park next door to my house. They’ve been there every night for the last several nights. The moon really is full tonight. I found the tarp they’d strung up between some trees so they could crouch there and do, what?
It is easy to blame the dark
Speak loudly I suppose. I’m tempted to turn the hose on them to see what would happen, or perhaps let the dog loose. She wouldn’t do anything except lick them.
I’m tempted to do something but I don’t want you to know
I have a violence in me that is hot as death-blood
I don’t know why they piss me off.
you do not necessarily feel [compassion]. You are it.
I drove back from the field–three days the dog and I on the road. I couldn’t help it–every space we passed, every patch of land with brush and trees, even into the central valley–even where I know they don’t live anymore–I asked whether they might be there. I wanted to stop at each place and hike and look for tracks, listen for calls–flush them.
how…how…show me the way
That’s just the way it is. I can’t help myself. How did I gain this obsession. How do I loose it? Should I? Or should I continue to follow it and allow it to define me? What other way is there worth being in the world?
to shake a memory
As I suggested in the last post, I wasn’t altogether successful in achieving my goals on this trip.
Failed…says the little gnome in my head
I am afraid that you are now going to abandon me–that you won’t trust me anymore. But you know, the point of the trip was to find out whether it was worth pursuing my big overarching research program with California quail on the population in San Diego. I wanted to ask whether traveling 3 or so times a year for a several weeks would allow me to collect sufficient data to say something about their social system. The answer is no.
Leap says the world and I fly
Just because I didn’t achieve all my goals doesn’t mean I accomplished nothing. Do I sound defensive? I do not want to. I want to be as hard on myself as I need to be. I want you to know though that when I worked on the quail for my Ph. D. project I was in the field year round–almost every day. I have data for Thanksgiving and Christmas, my birthdays. This was doable because I lived down there. It was also necessary to get a handle on the population. So I knew this was a crap shoot.
I am an object
And, anyway, the field season did result in samples and measurements. There are places for these and for smaller questions with the California quail. I also have the concern that my once robust group is shrinking. And if I can keep track of them periodically, I’ll be able to roughly track population size over time. If they are decreasing in number on that particular location of that particular site, I’ll be able to detect it.
within it I’m completely restless
So you know, part of the convincing is to you but part if it is the sense that the quail I’ve trapped and banded deserve their trauma (trapping is trauma–they are afraid–though perhaps small trauma because they come back. Or am I just soothing my own aching conscience?) to be for a reason. Each bird is an individual being in this world not a puzzle piece. (or we all are puzzle pieces…perhaps)
within it I’m completely immeasurably mute
If I am not doing something real and valuable (and I’m not going to fiddle with the question of what value is in this post…) with what I get from trapping them then I do not deserve the privilege of causing them discomfort and fear. (would but that there was a way for it not to be about this–but then part of it is that they are so very far from me, that sort of abyss that Derrida mentions. This abyss means fear and discomfort–)
I am lost,/behold what star is near
I also feel as though I owe the production of something valuable to my kids because, to do this field work, I was away for nearly a month.
To ache is human
While the children joined me for a week–helping me band and observe the quail–I was not parenting them for much of the time. When they were not there I missed them desperately; it’s just the way it goes, and I felt guilty. The field work felt like indulgence despite the fact that it was not relaxing. What sort of person desires to be with quail and do that work? What person desires to be with ones’ children but isn’t? What it feels like is failure.
Why do these words mean that there is
It’s a ripping in two, in three–don’t let anyone tell you differently. The feeling comes from inside and tears.
Does no interstice exist
I’m sorry I’m not holding up my end of the bargain here
that’s not an empty zone
The voices still come from the park. They are still there.
And there are still poison oak lesions on my back.
and not a battle zone
quotes are from Sylvia Plath, Bill Callahan, Inger Christensen, Chögyam Trungpa, HD, Emily Dickinson