A poem for Wednesday

I'm feeling simultaneously harried and calm this week, if that's possible... Here's a poem by Aram Saroyan from the Bolinas Poems. He often cures what ails me, especially when I can't quite put my finger on it myself.

The Great American Novel

I don't want to write the great American novel
And set people walking across the pages of a book
Doing things like sweating on page 4, praying on page 45,
Making love on 200, and smoking cigarettes on 85, 107, 136
And a lot of other pages—what good would that do?

What good would it do to make up a hero who combines
All of my good qualities and only a few of my faults
And set him loose through sentences and paragraphs,
Periods and semicolons, as well as continuous commas,
Making the world an arresting drama of keen insights

And killer instincts, of loners and lovers, devils
And angels, the power-mad and the happy poor?
After all, the world is something else when you get
Right down to it: a ladybug, for instance. A child
Who needs her shoe tied. And I don't know if I could

Find the proper time and place for such reality in
My sweeping saga of will and deception, telephone calls
And unbelievable tension, plus booze, pot, and pills.
Would any of my characters be able to stomach, or even
Notice the small tragedy of the leaves in the fall,

A sidewalk chalk drawing, or a Mickey Mouse watch?
Probably not. They would be so obsessed with money and war,
The price of oil and the rise of Third World powers that
There just wouldn't be time for such trivia. And my hero
Himself would be lost to me forever, and I would be lonely.
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