Xmas Break

I keep thinking I'll have a day or two to just kick back & read, post a couple of things on the blog, cook a nice dinner, but so far that hasn't really happened. Until today, at least, I haven't needed to drive in to school. I got my grades turned in last Sunday, then Monday we had a foot of snow that needed shoveling, though all I had to do was make dinner since Amy came over & she & Carole cleared out the driveway & then Amy did the deck so the dogs could get to their run. Dinner was hot turkey sandwiches on homemade bread with mashed potatoes & buttermilk gravy. Tuesday I didn't have to do much, so I read a paper sent to me to referee, which sent me back to the text the paper analyzed, which was absorbing enough, I guess, but not what you'd want to call "a break." I'm not quite sure where Wednesday went & today I needed to go to campus for a meeting & a retirement celebration, one in the morning, the other in the afternoon. In between, I began pulling supplementary texts together for one of my courses & sent them off for duplicating. I also began making notes for changes I'll make in next semester's courses: I've taught them before, but I constitutionally incapable of leaving them alone. So all of that is lovely & even restful, but somehow I thought I was going to get a day to just loll in bed & catch up on the NYRB, The Nation, & The London Review before moving on to the "real reading" I was going to do (Peter Gay's new Modernism, for one). Except that I can see now I'm going to be reading for classes from now until January 10th, when the semester starts. Am I complaining? No, not really. Time just buzzes by so quickly & I feel so often scattered. Tonight is very peaceful. Carole had a late meeting, so I came home & made turkey enchiladas (which she can warm up when she gets here) & now I'm sitting in front of the wood stove with all four dogs sacked out in front of me, each in their individual bed. Come to think of it, this feels very much like a break. It's moments like this that make me realize how incredibly lucky my life has been. My work is reading & talking & writing. For a kid from the working class, that's something. It still amazes me. Happy holidays, friends & readers everywhere!

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

3 thoughts on “Xmas Break”


    Now look at you Friday
    still dripping from the first snow shower
    don’t get dressed

    not even in that leftover
    lightening glitz some derelict
    god still passes off as gold
    still toying with us

    like a kid with a stick
    poking the rotting fox’s belly
    of some anxious mind’s
    hollowing of the future

    don’t be like that for once
    go bare-assed
    through every single thought.

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