Erie Journal, 5/27

I love my new city.  I love my new apartment.  I’m quite pleased with my decision to move here, although it is still early in the emotional as well as physical process.

I am happy.  But not just happy, of course.  Life is not simple like that, always.  Mind you—sometimes it is simple like that.  Don’t let anyone tell you life is never simple, or easy (or complicated, or difficult, for that matter).  At various times, life sure can be just about everything.

I’ve always been equally as comfortable in the center of a crowded room as I was all alone in a darkened apartment.  Too much of either makes me uncomfortable, as does too little.  (this could be why I’m a 32 year-old bachelor.)   Even a woman I am desperately in love with, after 4 straight days togather, she’s got to go to her place for a bit.  But don’t leave me alone for too long, or I will say some messed up stuff to get you to spend time with me.

So what is a man like me to do when transported to a new place where he knows absolutely no one?  At first, as you saw in my previous entries, I live the solitary high-life.  Not once during my initial explorations—the zoo, downtown Erie, the art museum, etc ettc—did I wish someone was with me.  I hope no one takes this as a slight.  It does not mean I love you less.  This is just the way I operate.  I do love having a shared experience, but I in no way find it necessary.  Turns out that I am pretty good company for myself. 

But I suppose there do come moments, now, when I become what I would term ‘lonely’.  They are fleeting moments, and far between, but they are real.  And they are mildly vague: they do not make clear if they crave a woman’s presence or a man’s, whether a simple phone call would do the trick, and there is no specific guidance about who I miss, if in fact I miss anybody.  Part of me thinks I might just need someone other than my landlord to see how cool I’ve made my apartment.  Or I might need laid.  Or somewhere in between.

Regardless, the lonliness is good, for a few reasons.  Primarily it proves I’m human, and not a sociopath, which is good to know.  Secondly, it will force me to do something about it.  There are tons of ways I can ‘make friends’ in this town without the seemingly all-important ‘bar scene’.  One could already say I’m ‘friends’ with Shawn down at the art museum, and the lady down at Erie Books was quite persuasive about me attending their poetry open mic night on Fridays.  Then there’s the Presque Isle Society and the hot single mother who lives downstairs from me.  And just living a life out-of-doors, moving around, entering and exiting buildings; after awhile you can’t help but know people.

But for the most part, I’m still pretty darn happy doing just as I please, all by myself, thank you very much.  I still have very little desire to sleep.  There is way too much I want to do to be sleeping!

I know I talk and write mostly about movies and music, but that’s because almost none of you care about poetry, but let me tell you, more than any movie or song, the beloved poetry of my favorite writers is really what has kept me sane and even during this time of upheaval.  I’m sure when most of you picture me—if you picture me—it is laying on some couch somewhere watching a movie, and for sure, I do that for about two hours a day, but for the rest of the non-working hours when I’m at home, these past 2 weeks, you’d find me sitting in that old red chair that my parents got lord-knows-where when they are both quite young, and then which I somehow inherited (I doubt anyone else wanted it) and which I can’t imagine I’ll ever stop owning (the past is alive in it), hunkered down with my face in a book I probably bought so long ago I was drunk when I bought it, reading lines I’ve read so many tmes they feel like a kind of home in my head, or like this familiar red chair I’m sitting on, sometimes laughing, sometimes crying.  There is always a way home, and it is poetry. 

For some reason I can’t understand at all quite yet, I keep coming back to this lesser known poem by Billy Collins. It is, for some reason, resonating with me quite  a bit these last 2 weeks.  It’s called “Brightly Colored Boats Upturned on the Bank of the Charles”.  Here it is:

What is there to say about them
that has not been said in the title?
I saw them near dawn from a glassy room
on the other side of that river,
which flowed from some hidden spring
to the sea; but that is getting away from
the brightly colored boats upturned
on the banks of the Charles,
the sleek racing sculls of a college crew team.

They were beautiful in the clear early light—
red, yellow, blue and green—
is all I wanted to say about them,
although for the rest of the day
I pictured a lighter version of myself
calling time through a little megaphone,
first to the months of the year,
then to the twelve apostles, all grimacing
as they leaned and pulled on the long wooden oars.

16 Responses to “Erie Journal, 5/27”

  1. Kyle Sundgren Says:

    Oh but you’re so wrong. When I picture you it’s always while wearing a 1970’s San Diego Padres uniform, sitting on a merry-go-round yelling, “BISCUITS!” as loud as you can. I know some of your other friends do as well.

    Hey you know what you can do when you’re lonely and/or ran out of movie ideas? Watch the movie I sent you!

    I’m glad I’ve started to appreciate poetry, but admittedly I still know dick about it. I finished the entire Bukowski book a month or two ago. Is there another author or maybe an anthology you can recommend? I really enjoyed Bukowki’s style and subjects so something similar would be cool, but I know I can only get more out of it if I broaden my horizons to something new. I put full trust in you.

    • sethdellinger Says:

      How did you know about the Padres uniform and the merry-go-round?????? But you’re wrong about one thing: I yell “ladyfingers”.

      Dude. I lost the movie you sent me. My bad. :(

      I’ve actually been thinking for awhile about what poet to recommend to you. It’s tough cause I don’t want it to be someone you don’t like, I’d like to keep this Kyle/poetry streak going. Now that I know you want a recommendation I’ll think a bit harder about it, but it’s still going to be tough—there aint nobody quite like Bukowski. See if you’re able to come up with 5 or so of your absolute favorite bukowski poems and link me to online versions (there is almost always one somewhere—I copied this Collins poem from a website), that way I can get a better feel for EXACTLY what you dig the most.

  2. Chandra Says:

    Which collection is that Collins poem from?

  3. I would come visit if I could drive! ;)

  4. Oh my, how I ever so much identify with this posting. I am also often a loner and not sad about that. There are times when I do require the company of others, to keep me sane. But I loved your line about being crazy in love with somebody but still neeeding your own space after four days. I couldnt agree more!

    • sethdellinger Says:

      I guess we know where I get it from. :) Seriously though, I don;t understand these people who can spend every moment with someone!!! I have my own stuff to do haha

  5. cory w. Says:

    Seth thanks for posting that poem! I’m gonna print a copy of this for my roomate. He’s not super into poetry so far that i can tell, but he is the crew coach for Temple University, so I think he’ll appreciate it.

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