Saturday, September 8, 2012

Saturday commute lxvii: attempting heaven's coast

I'm glad not to expect
to get beyond a delight-
ed shock, on seeing in
someone's house I might
visit, the little snap-
shot framed on a night
table or a desk, of a
moment of play such as
this from the beach. My
surprise amuses me, as
I know it must mark my
years, and memories of 
times when this would
be unthinkable. Does
it take boldness to be
happy nowadays? What
would it be like, if

         In a diary for Heaven's Coast, Mark Doty
         wrote during Wally's illness: 

         I have this feeling that there's a word
         behind my life I can't quite say, a word
         that's pulling at everything, a word
         that's keeping me from writing because
         it's just too hard to say it.

One recognises a fierce, tenacious
literature that's in these often
campy little keepsakes, right away.
They portray the defeat of morbid-
ity, in games with which a whole
life came into being by destroy-
ing it. I always wince, still, at
the excessive privilege of setting
eyes on private memories of Kauai
or Cape Cod, but they enhance my
respect, erasing any envy. I never
feel left out, somehow, but let in.


     So you saw, then,
     Hercule, that my
     shoulder framed
     this hand to be
     anyone's, not
     just mine.

     Never just yours,
     Auguste, or ever
     just anyone's. 

Mark Doty
Heaven's Coast
  A memoir
Harper Collins, 1996©

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