Side Table: October 13

Side Table: October 13


I’m really getting into the Halloween mood!

See that handsome crow there in the middle of my table? That’s Carlos, he was on sale at a Walgreens last year, and I had to rescue him from the shelf. I am wild about birds -crows and ravens are my favorites by far. They are not just magnificent to behold, but so smart and clever! And the ones that live here in Houston aren’t afraid of humans – at least in my experience. They know that humans = FOOD. So they get pretty brazen, which I love.

This beautiful creature spent what felt like half an hour like this, just chilling with me. 

So back to Carlos of Walgreens. He was sitting there all alone, tilted to the side a bit, stuffed in between cheap candles and party bags. There was no way in hell I was going to leave him there, lonely and stripped of his dignity!

I’m mostly kidding, but not quite! I admit I have a tendency to anthropomorphize…some things…okay so a lot of things.

Remember when “Toy Story” first came out and people were so charmed, it made them reminisce about how they might have gone through a phase of imagining their toys like that? Well, that – except I never grew out of that phase. It doesn’t apply to everything, but it applies to enough things that I paid money because I couldn’t leave that crow alone on a shelf in a drugstore. 


Anyway, so that’s the story of Carlos the Crow. I usually keep him on my writing desk next to other things that make me happy (no I don’t name them all).

I cannot be the only one who does this. 


The season of autumn makes me want to read granola-eating nature stuff, horror novels and tons of poetry. So at the moment I’m re-reading one of my old Bentley Little books, and flipping around some Thoreau in dribs and drabs.


I also picked up this 2012 edition of Poetry magazine (their 100th year!), and it’s like I found the Halloween house where they give out full-sized candy bars (vs. the ones with old Easter chocolates and hard candies so old they look fossilized and break teeth). I keep reading it again and again and again.

I love this quote on the back:

Thank you, Vera. I hear you!

I first read this without noticing or processing the “my” in the middle. And I kind of like it like that. I have no problem admitting that, roughly 90 percent of the time, I don’t understand poetry. Make that 95 percent, come to think of it.

Here’s the thing though, the really important thing: if it’s good poetry, you don’t have to understand it.*

Speaking of crows. I love this so, so much.


*Some poets seem to use free verse as a way to ramble their way into trying to sound dark and cool and weird, thinking they can just pretend it’s artsy and so on. For whatever reason, it doesn’t work. I don’t know a thing about writing poetry and I can just feel it in my gut – most avid readers have that instinct – it’s like a muscle we’ve worked on for years. Finding “the good stuff” is worth wading through the rest.