One of the things that this weblog demonstrates is that poets -- at least this poet -- have a hard time distinguishing between reading a novel, thinking about politics, & cooking breakfast or watching birds. I'm not sure if this is a good or productive way of approaching the world, but it's what I do. If it's not all connected then it doesn't make any sense to me. Maybe my problem, if it's a problem, is that, aged fifteen, I discovered Bob Dylan & T.S. Eliot, the Grateful Dead & Ezra Pound, Joni Mitchell & Sylvia Plath, etc. all at the same time. My sophomore year in high school, 1966, marks a great fissure in American culture. (I can't speak for other countries.) Dylan Thomas & John Lennon suddenly had equal cultural weight. Oh, and throw Julia Child & Janis Joplin into the mix while you're at it. When I was seventeen I would sit up after my parents had gone to bed watching Johnny Carson, keying into that by then old-style hipness. When Johnny would have another comedian on, someone he respected, someone he would call over to the couch after their two minutes, & would riff with them, cracking each other up, it was like jazz, except that I didn't know anything about jazz yet. And even if Johnny & his guests where hoplessly square, they were so much more hip than where I came from & they were not so square that they lacked irony about themselves. No one I knew -- none of the adults -- had a sense of irony about themselves. They couldn't afford to. They had to work to make ends meet. My step-father, who had lost his job at Boeing, was working as a Fuller Brush Man. They were disdainful of show biz types unless they were Red Skelton or Phyllis Diller, who were the opposite of hip. Who validated the anxieties of the working class rather than mocking them. God, how I longed to be able to mock those anxieties, which were my own. Being hip was (& is) the ability to mock those anxieties.