Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Daily Richard (not Richard Daley)

After naming this blog in honor of Richard Brautigan, I have somehow managed to pretty much ignore him in every post so far.

Starting today, your humble servants at Trout Fishing in Minnesota will remedy that by posting a poem, essay, quote, or other tidbit of Brautigana each day. Some may be accompanied by commentary, some not.

Today's nugget: a little poem from "Rommel Drives on Deep into Egypt"

The Memoirs of Jesse James

I remember all those thousands of hours
that I spent in grade school watching the clock,
waiting for recess or lunch or to go home.
Waiting: for anything but school.
My teachers could easily have ridden with Jesse James
for all the time they stole from me.

I like that poem because of its almost musical rhythm and its combination of wistfulness, regret, and anger.

I also like it because Jesse James is a big deal in Northfield, this little town having been the site of Jesse's last bank robbery. There is some minor historical debate about whether Jesse was in fact part of that gang, but around these parts there is no doubt. The big community celebration, complete with a re-enactment of the famous raid (in front of the actual bank building, now a museum), is but a couple weeks away.

Northfield goes just a little nuts the week of The Defeat of Jesse James Days. I used to grumble at the traffic and the fried foods and the kitschy crafts booths, but I've decided that it's nice for a little town to party for a few days before winter. Dance in the streets, drink some cheap beer, watch the horsies on Division Street.

Brautigan would be bemused (as he was by most things) and he might play a little bingo, too.

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