SHERIDAN SQUARE, 1974
A Diary in Miniature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo by Dan Chapman ©2001 Stanyan Entertainment Group

A Thought for Today

The brave arenít fearless, theyíve learned to manage their anxiety.

 

November 1. Coming cross-country taking separate routes but traveling in a parallel direction. First connected by a leaflet passed from your hand into mine, eyes engaged for seconds only.

I thought nothing of that meeting, or whatever, if anything, might come later. Besides, we only smiled, backtracked, spoke in double paragraphs, smiled again and moved apart.

November 2. I came, and afterward came back. Here we are. Talking at your eight oíclock till ten oíclock, except on matinee days, door. I am quiet, show respect. There are truer words for that - overwhelmed, afraid, polite. We talk. Has nothing ever been said so badly ? The vital minute passes. I hesitate, then leave. Outside in the car I stammer, stumble over words. My friends smile. They understand. I pretend to them I donít. Christ, itís happening again. And Iím letting it happen.

Four A.M. Sylvia Syms has finished all her dead-end songs and Iím dead-ended.

November 3. I missed my plane. I will never know if it was done deliberately. London is put off another day. A reprieve. I come into the night to see you. No luck. I leave instructions where Iíll be. An option; you can call tomorrow.

I wait, I over-wait. You do not come. I am elated. I am relieved. I am depressed. The jukebox owes me fifty quarters. I owe my friends a better smile. I put it on, go out into the cold. Back to the hotel. I watch a television movie, believe it or not, Secret of the Incas with Yma Sumac. Surely you will call me up tomorrow. The tubís filling up. I strip off my clothes. Think. Fuck thinking.

November 4. Up noon. Breakfast. Write. Iím finishing a book, this book. The phone rings with twenty-minute precision, every twenty minutes. Three-thirty now. I run though the options: no message was delivered; the signals passed between us were imagined by me; you occupy another manís bed; you are afraid. No, you are not afraid. You will not call.

Five. Darkness. London will not wait again. Anyway, what possible new excuses could I make, even to myself ?

With no more knowledge of each other than a half-imagined look, I miss you mightily. You have caused a void that you will likely never hear about. Worse, Iíve occupied these hours we might have spent together writing of the time as substitute for not living it.

I remember California. I know you thought that Iíd forgotten. What I did forget is that people seldom change their minds. Much as I dislike goodbyes, I hate indifference more. Still, you were special. Waiting tables, filling up a stage, sliding through a Friday night in Sheridan Square, you were the prize. The mirrored ball spinning through the air, that once lit up, sends flecks of light dancing, bouncing, all across the discotheque. What I really thought was this - maybe youíd forgotten California and me. Maybe Iíd be new to you, as you thought you were to me.

New York in November, the event of the season for some. For others, the pageantry and hope have to be enough. Though it would not, could not be for me.

-from ďAlone,Ē1975

Join me tomorrow for Pass It Along. Sleep warm.

RM 10/31/01

Details of Rod's next appearance can be obtained by following the link below.

"Tap Your Troubles Away" - the music of Jerry Herman

notable birthdays Bill Anderson o Jeremy Angerson o Sholem Asch o Benvenuto Cellini o Toni Colette o Stephen Crane o Victoria de Los Angeles o Keith Emerson o Larry Flynt o Robert Foxworth o Sophie B. Hawkins o Eugen Jochum o James Kilpatrick o Lyle Lovett o Jenny McCarthy o Marcel Ophuls o Betsy Palmer o Gary Player o Jim Steinman o Fernando Valenzuela o Marcia Wallace o Michael Zaslow
Rod's random thoughts All life is imagery, but imagery is seldom life.

Pride is never more offensive than when it condescends to be civil.

There is no such thing as an excess of benevolence.

EMPTY PLACES
for Alvin Grimwald

Despite two heat waves in a row,
Santa Ana winds that made the nights
too hard to sleep and too hard not to,
there seem to be enough
new ripe tomatoes to go round.

Enough for all the neighbors,
for every bird to have some,
            and more than plenty
for squirrels of all ages to leave
half-eaten Early Girls and Celebrities
in assorted crotches of assorted
                tree limbs.

I am discussing vegetables
so that I might ignore the empty place
at the kitchen counter in the morning
and the dinner table when evening comes.

The key is in the same place;
                 you know where.
The tomatoes?
Redder, riper than they ever were.
Second crop a-coming. Berries, too,
            of every kind.
Because youíve always had more
        patience and a willing hand
I need you to pick the Red One Hundred
            and the Yellow Pear.

And those handsĖ
I need them more than ever
to caress my ears and eyes
        and ease my shorts
down past my knees while Iím asleep,
surprising me while not surprising me.

You know where the key is
and how much I love surprises.

-from ďA Safe Place to Land", 2001

 
© 1975, 1981, 1999, 2001 by Stanyan Music Group & Rod McKuen. All Rights Reserved
Birthday research by Wade Alexander o Poetry from the collection of Jay Hagan o Coordinated by Melinda Smith
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