Hurry and delay

Up in the dark, breakfast in bed, reading every small story in the NYT (Le Monde is an afternoon pleasure, on paper, purchased at a corner kiosk, sometimes read in the park, feet up on a chair), for example, airport security, or lack of, in Charm-el-sheik (sp?). Newspaper reading expands to fit the time available.

Bed made to gloomy organ music from the church across the way, English children's voices down on the sidewalk, also a lot of last night's trash (truly the cash-strapped city must have laid off its sweepers, those gentle green men--in fact, mostly black--with their brooms).

I can delay a little longer. I make myself a cup of instant coffee, and top up the teapot with hot water (Joyce says somewhere, perhaps in Portrait of the Artist, that his family was so poor they used the morning tea leaves three times over): I chain-smoke tea, or shall we say, lightly-flavoured hot water. Waiting for the water to boil I clean up the breakfast dishes, sweep oatmeal and breadcrumbs off the floor, dump all the organic trash into my compost; ie, one of the balcony pots, either the one with the catalapa stripling I was given in September at the Marché aux fleurs, or the mock orange I bought: porridge, apple cores, wilted lettuce, tea leaves, coffee grounds. I sweep the balcony...I

So here I am, no more excuses for not getting down to work. But what work? A book review?--do that later. A Baudelaire translation--maybe. Baudelaire is a good poetry school. I think I said this already. I'm learning to rhyme, Baudelaire to my left, Robert Lowell's Imitations to the right. Lowell's translations of Baudelaire are extraordinary, like his Rimbaud. They are not always accurate in terms of semantics, but they are terrific poems in their own right, and I can rummage through them for ideas, diction, tone, a zillion things the run-of-the-mill academic, accurate, literal translation can't offer. Lowell is best, it seems to me, at the chewy, realist poems: early (!) Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Pasternak. 

Last evening I went to a memorial film viewing for Chantal Akerman at the Brussels--Wallonie Cultural Centre over by the Centre Pompidou. They showed her last film, which contains excerpts from earlier films, none of which I have ever seen.  I thought I might only stay for a bit, but it was extraordinary, and I stayed till the end, though not for the discussion afterwards.  It began late: I watched people arrive, meet friends, settle and wondered who this person was behind my eyes, my skin, watching, feeling insignificant, foreign, even to myself.