Monday Morning Musings:
“A ‘strange coincidence,’ to use a phrase
By which such things are settled now-a-days.”
–George Gordon, Lord Byron, Don Juan, Canto Vi, Stanza 78
We see the movie, Paterson,
a quiet, lovely film about poetry and the beauty of everyday life,
of things like matchboxes and waking up beside the person you love,
the bus driver/poet named Paterson who lives in Paterson,
his love’s whispered dream about twins,
and the multiple sightings of twins–
things like this always seem to happen to me,
is it coincidence, synchronicity, or a poet’s awareness?
I eavesdrop on strangers’ conversations,
put them in a poem,
then wonder if the universe does the same,
or perhaps there are other worlds,
but with an occasional intersection
the hole in a Swiss cheese cosmos that breaks,
the slice of bread “in a giant cosmic loaf”*
perhaps still connected to another slice,
or are we sandwiched between two slices,
which are nibbled by time?
So, I watch this movie with its coincidences,
its references to dimensions and time,
when after seeing the many pairs of twins onscreen,
I discover that same day Beyoncé announced she’s having twins,
and smile at the universe’s joke
when after I had been thinking I should buy a small notebook
to carry with me
to jot down my thoughts
like the poet/bus driver does,
I clean out a shelf,
discover little notebooks,
notebooks given to me years ago,
before I wrote poetry,
as if it wasn’t the right time for them then,
but it is now,
and they’ve been waiting.
Am I a historian/poet,
or a writer who writes in many forms?
William Carlos Williams,
is a presence in the film–
I didn’t know he was born in Paterson,–
But I know that poem,
you know the one—about the plums?
I remember looking it up once in summer,
I think of plums, warm and fragrant, not cold,
imagine the juice running down my chin,
my skin, summer-brown,
it’s another me I imagine
from a time in the past,
perhaps it still exists in a parallel universe,
when my body was thin and lithe,
and firm as a plum.
a few days later,
we’ve been pet-sitting,
and now we’re driving home
just the two of us in the car,
sitting in silence,
my mind wrapped in thoughts,
a package that I will unwrap
arranging the contents carefully,
hoping I remember on which shelf I’ve left each one.
I say to my husband,
“You know how the character in Paterson drove his bus
listening to passengers and looking around him
while he was writing poetry in his head?
That’s what I was doing–
thinking about coincidences and writing poems,
but while you drove.”
“That’s OK,” he says.
“I thought that’s what you were doing. “
And we’re home.
The poem about the plum, William Carlos Williams, “This is Just to Say.”
Paterson, official trailer.