Friday, September 28, 2007

A Rotten, Nasty **COLD**

It's my own fault. I knew better; I know better. I walk two to three miles a day, eat the best foods I can afford, and generally keep my hands clean and out of my eyes during cold season. So what happened? Well, we finished work early for English 420, so I let the students go - it was a Friday, after all, and I thought to take advantage of the extra time in a computer lab to get a bit of my own work done. And where did I choose to sit? At the very station where the only sick student in class had sat! I was having a great day, chatting with a few folks who lingered in the lab, and I mindlessly sat down at her station! ... a conscientious, young woman who had earlier cautioned me about her illness and warned me to be careful with proximity. It's my own fault. I know it!

Saturday last went OK, and Sunday, though a bit dragging, was fine, too, but by Monday, the beast was coming out to play, and I've been fighting this rotten, no-good, nasty COLD since then. Grrrr...... growling just seems the right thing to do.

And I want to work - I want to think, but it's not going well. I feel myself reaching through thick-pile velvet to pick up a dime or a half-dollar thought. They tease me with promise and drop away, then lay conspicuously daring me to try again. I don't. It's enough to keep finding my breath. Yet from here I remembering A Passage to India, the book Olga gave me, a love-hate read through fields of prose from E.M.Forster, a story as likely warm, inviting, and poetic as it was at other times repulsive to me. The story is haunting me this week as I wrestle with a cold, intruding on my best efforts to stay on the road with Kerouac.

Olga tells me that conversation about Forster's Passage can drift to discussions about the homosexual relationship between Fielding and Aziz, but that's a stretch for me; and though I can relate to the Mrs. Moore character and in passing moments to Adela, the real story for me in the novel is the being Indian that Aziz negotiates throughout. There are so many expressions for him, so many flows and tensions, and so many promising possibilities against a backdrop of limitation and performance. Aziz journeys on, and the story resolves only in that fact of his being still Aziz - poet, seer, and Indian. He continues and in the end he will be friends with the English only when the earth agrees ... "No, not yet," and the sky said, "No, not there."

And Jack Kerouac takes me back to the road, and my thoughts drift to a 4:30 class and the nasty, awful cold will lose this fight in the end.

Forster, E.M.. A Passage to India. New York: Harvest Books, 1965.

Quotes I note:

"It never bored them to hear words, words; they breathed them with the cool night air, never stopping to analyze..." (12)

"...pathos, they agreed, is the highest quality in art; a poem should touch the hearer witha sense of his own weakness..." (113)

"The poem had don no 'good' to anyone, but it was a passing reminder, a breath from the divine lips of beauty, a nightingale between two worlds of dust ... it voiced our loneliness nonetheless, our isolation, our need for the Friend who never comes ..." (114)

"Men yearn for poetry through they may not confess it; they desire that joy shall be graceful and sorrow august and infinity have a form..." (234)

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