to Greg – October 21, 2004

by richibi

these earlier “back tracks”, of which the following is one example, are pieces I consider still to be worth your while

please enjoy                   


October 21, 2004                                                                                                                                                           Vancouver, B.C.   

                                                                                                                                                                  gold and russet leaves, dear Greg, rustling in the wake of a serendipitous wisp of wind, glittering and glistening in the crisp, clear autumn light, skateboarders’ silhouettes skimming along the edge of a ruffled ocean, sleak as the flight of the birds above, inspired an otherwise gray day, the sun has been out only in patches
                                                                                                                                                                 after a truly therapeutic massage yesterday and a promise to my physiotherapist then to resume my too long interrupted exercises I started the day after some Proust of course and, I confess, also some irresistible Shakespeare – where a piteous Arthur, a boy who should be king, pleads of his executioner not to have his eyes pierced by hot irons, “cut out my tongue”, he says, “So I may keep mine eyes: O, spare mine eyes.” – I started the day at the gym doing a good run of vigorous exercises, a sure sign of a reinvigorated spirit, I’m returning to health and life

and to continue the day as though it were my last I lunched luxuriously afterwards instead of eating at home, on eggs and wine, a newspaper and a coffee, at my usual beachfront restaurant before heading out to Wendy’s where we were to read any old Shakespeare this time, I’d given her the choice, which turned out to be “The Merchant of Venice”, she thought, she said, she’d like that, imagining especially Venice, and also, I think, cause I’d mentioned that the movie, well reviewed, should be coming out next month

I smoked a joint along the way to her place along the water, where the “gold and russet leaves”, the “skateboarders’ silhouettes”, the “flight of the birds above”, left their wistful impression

then after a passionate discourse at her place on art, inspired I’m sure by the puff, and some references admittedly to my wounded heart, which she took in with great concern and compassion, I read

at first of course the language was rough and unfamiliar – a thicket of words, a bramble of indecipherable locutions – but as together we sorted out the subjects from the verbs, the art within the convolutions, we discovered poetry and enchantment, I’d told her to tell me if she got bored, uninterested – it should be fun, exhilarating, art, inspirational – but we made it to the end, Act 1, scene 1, it took two hours, Antonio’s ships were out, his friend Bassanio needed money to woo the lovely but expensive Portia and so was steered toward the city’s moneylenders to borrow on his friend Antonio’s assurance

Shylock, the famous Jew, nor for that matter Portia, have appeared yet

later at home after some television I determined to answer your letter, another sign of returning health

I hope you will enjoy my composition

I imagine you adrift in London, impressed and agog at so much of the history and the institutions, thick as traffic everywhere, even the city’s air and colours seem suffused with the stains and strains of a crotchety but golden nevertheless antiquity, a walk along the Thames suggests a time too long ago before it even all began, before there even was a London, and any street will conjure Dickens, Conan Doyle, and if you’re lucky and literate, even himself the Elizabethan Shakespeare, while Big Ben dependably tolls out in a deep reverberant voice not only the hours but the very centuries

I hope you won’t miss a thing

you are in my thoughts of course, and prayers