Saturday, August 31, 2013

Martha Deed

Seamus Heaney Reading at Canisius College, Buffalo, New York

It begins with a miracle – the suddenly vacated parking space in the tiny lot 
closest to the Montante Center where the entrance I remembered was
suddenly blocked by a fountain erected in the last building flurry, the curb cut
– gone – and I, a Protestant unused to theological manifestations left puzzled
at 30 mph in dense traffic where everyone it seemed was after the same event,
and I inhaled as I squeezed past the don't walk signal and turned into the dead
end of the once-familiar lot but while preparing to back out and I am not good
at driving in reverse I happened to see out of the corner of my eye – the one
not prone to misleading lightening flashes – red lights which in any case are
not a part of my malady and these red lights had yellow lights underneath
them and the bumper beneath both sets of lights reflected the four lights and
thus caught my attention – of a car backing out of its space and must have
been driven by someone who was no poetry aficionado even of Irish poetry
and Heaney the greatest living of that sort, but this car was departing which
was bad for the driver's cultural education but quite wonderful for mine and
even better the car that was leaving did so in a manner which prevented any
competing poetry lover from entering the lot and achieving the space that I
now had set sight upon and thus as the driver did its backing and shifting and I
did my backing and shifting – two ships at sea in too narrow a channel for
comfort as it were – and gained the space somewhat crookedly with a pang it
must be admitted of regret for not giving way to the other supplicant for that
space but also assured in my own mind of the primacy of that space for me as
I am the owner of eight Seamus Heaney books and so I continued out of the
car and through the rain and across the street to the too small assembly hall
where I took one of the last seats ten minutes after the doors were first opened
and soon I stopped remembering a parking space dispute which I won on
Riverside Drive near Columbia some years ago at 9:30 at night and dumbtired 
did not yield to the thug who left his car to pound with his fists on my
roof and then my windshield before regaining his vehicle and driving on and I
found all four tires slashed the next day which cured my guilty conscience in a
hurry of any regret either that day or now.

October 28, 2012


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