She wondered if it was a basic of the human experience that we felt, not always but often enough to notice, that our gifts somehow fell just short of the miracles others seemed able to perform. Poets, she thought. Especially the poets. For all the swooning and sincere praise sparked by her pastries, she was certain not one of them had ever lifted the top of someone's head from the rest of his skull, no scone ever rang the holy gong of truth in anyone's chest. No one ever quoted a quiche.
There was no nameable reason for dissatisfaction on that warming afternoon as fragrances from the kitchen met and mingled with honeysuckle and eucalyptus. A longing for what is not, or not quite, begins with doubt shoehorned into a vacant heart cubicle, a space that was being saved like a movie seat for someone expected, not yet come. What is really simple unknowingness is distorted, mistaken for doubt. It assumes the shape of a thing lost or missing and soon we talk ourselves into a state of lack and unsufficiency that ignores all the ways in which we are richly ourselves. Gloria slid into such places very seldom, almost never. If we are not yet ready to call a situation what it is, say for instance love, we will busy ourselves pulling every old sweater out of the closet, declaring it hideous, packing it off to the thrift store and wondering why we still feel limp and unproductive as sails becalmed. The right letters combined can be our deliverance.
The poets, she knew, not only saw beneath, behind the veneer of earthly struggles, they possessed the formula for putting this word with that so we might recognize ourselves, possibly with compassion. In less shadowed moments, there was a knowing that her enchantments, while not poetry, still carried messages not ordinarily spoken. She decided to create a Poet's Lunch, maybe a monthly special, writing a mental list of what all it could include. She also decided when her research was done, when the menu and ingredients were decided upon, the first portions would be offered to The Reading Man. She suspected he would know it for what it really was.
|The face of poetry.|