Saturday, January 22, 2011

Consolations for a Cleveland Winter

What would I do with all that
prodigal sunshine,
day after changeless day, and the way it
bleaches unliving colors
to pastel? Far better to
dwell here,
in wired concrete igloos,
parked in the arctic precincts of a
supposedly temperate
climate, where the dense gray
perpetuity of cloud
supersedes shade and curtain, where
no luminous nuisance trespasses in the sky,
opacifying the lenses of your eye with the
glare of film noir third degrees.
Where you can sleep for weeks without missing a single
shadow. How reassuring,
not to have to worry about the cat
exploding in the unvented four-door.

And then, there are the economic benefits;
the costly, sloppy stickiness of the
sunscreen you won't be needing,
the money unspent on the darklensed
fashionstatements you won't sit on
entering the car, the superfluity of
bikini waxes beneath layer upon layer of
goose down, wool, velcro, Gortex and Thinsulate.
None of the wastefulness of frozen-drink
parasols: instead, the allegory of marshmallows
melting in hot cocoa, the music of
whistled steam gossiping about the impending
arrival of scalded pots of tea.

Who would knowingly trade the
palping rapture of cashmere
coiled in gentle neck-snug, for the
goo gunk of tropical crotchfunk, and
pitstench? And then there’s the boon
to marital fidelity, the erotic temptations
of fishnet nymphettes
preempted: the very thought of provocative textiles
foreclosed by the horripilant chill-threat of
bristle-hair gooseflesh. No apocalyptic water bugs
skittering eerily from
unknown places, just a preternatural
feeling of brotherhood
for the lonely burdens of prehistoric
glaciers, and sympathy for the fate of naked
graveyard statuary.

Far better to start each morning with the discourse of
shovel's-edge rasping flagstone or blacktop, even
the cranky percussion of twostroke engines chuting
geysers of crystal into driveway-lining
ridges of freeze-dried sky-squeeze.
Listening to the sizzle-hiss of woodfire, its
narrative about the liberation of stored
sunshine, how preferable this to the trademarked
thrash-ratchet of idling middle-aged stockbrokers.

Needless to say,
mountainside fiberglass waterslides
rank a very distant second to
the doorstep thrill-ride of each morning,
as, improvising your way along the
newly arrived canyons of spontaneous
car-devouring roadcrumble, you
fishtail through slushstreeted
rush-hours. And there can simply be
no moral comparison between the
generosity of the snowplow rock-salt
that leaves the entire northeast
corner of the state saltier
than a frozen-margarita rim,
and the isolating managedcare selfishness
of tinted-power-windows and factory-air.

There is nothing in the radiant scorch
of hot sun on tanned skin
to make you desire anything
but escape; nothing that
remotely begins to compare with the way that,
numbing your extremities, a Cleveland winter
lectures about how you have stopped
feeling, and long
to feel

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