The first thing you do in a book of etiquette is ask yourself "Is it permissible?" and when you answer yourself that it is, you go ahead & do it anyway. Of course it is. It is okay to send money to a person in lieu of a gift if you are unable to buy a gift & send it. It's cheaper to send money than packages anyway. Go ahead & do it. If someone serves you a knife a fork a spoon pointed toward you go ahead & turn them back the way they’re supposed to be. Your host may be some Sufi-Sikh witch doctor who was raised in Lower Slobovia, New York, & is trying to influence you. Laugh & eat, & get out of the situation.
If you get there too late & all the food is gone think that you might have been poisoned anyway, & when they’re out of beer don’t drink the tap water, it will make you sick. Think of your planning not to drink & how awful it is once you’re all geared up to drinking. Everything ends & the day comes anyway.
"On the Wings of Song," dropped by them onto the earth.
Will absurdities ever
end yes they
will yes they
Dare to think it is possible to do what you are going to do, and do it. A bulwark was never spent by a theft. Three cheers for the function & one for the category. Think your head through, & back to the other side.
Poetry is an exercise in thinking thoughts, music in the ears. You walk down the passage of your ear canal & back out again. You bless your wife your son your daughter your house your ideal construction looking out on a volcanic stem like an upside down mushroom, and when you see the rainbow is no longer there hard rock reality gets to you.
Etiquette is the carrying on of the mind. It gets to where it's going & passes through space. Do what is right no matter what. Etiquette is harder than poetry. Carrying yourself without demanding that you dominate everything, unless of course you deserve to, dominating it anyway. That's the opposite of poetry. Poetry is when you don’t care, etiquette is when you care but don’t give a damn. Poetry is a wall that's breaking through. Etiquette is a dam held back. Amy & Emily handed you a bejeweled hand with long polished fingernails. Now you put on your kid glove & handle things carefully. Don’t let not knowing something stop you, but admit your ignorance without going too far. There's a stepping stone anywhere as long as it's on your property, and if you don’t have any property you can still walk.
Go ahead & do what you thought you couldn’t do, by doing it. Bit by piece, a lot. Bite off a huge chunk every day & don’t give anything away, until you have reached where you’re going & are there.
That's the difference between etiquette & poetry – one's coming and one's going. Do you really live on such a pint-sized shelf that you cant listen to something odd. Have you ever been startled by anything? Of course you have, you just cant remember.
What's wrong with the public schools? The only poetry in them is under the desk. That is, if poetry bit her between the legs she'd probably scratch her ear. Most teachers are just so much wet soap. There are younger ones, just as there are younger doctors & lawyers, but they wont speak of poetry & etiquette in one breath. Perhaps they never will. I will go on and do what is present to do. Today we have a list.
Write San Diego.
Write the insurance company.
Run off postcards announcing your radio show.
Be friendlier all the way around. Perhaps that will help. Think of others as your mind boggles, work solidly without interruption. Work & play, etiquette & poetry. Poetry is so easy, it's the aftermath that's questionable. Poetry should he called afterbirth. By constantly beginning you are constantly ending your former task. That way, truthfully, you can reach your way out & still be a family unit. Stepping apart, & then everybody wins.
Doing something gracefully, falling, gracefully into bed, or say, standing up, walking. Dancing. Poets should dance, all the time, set them to dancing. Be kind & truthful. Why not. Because you’re a perfect devil?
Language will teach you things you never knew, & why not? Sex guides the words, home. Or accepts them, at an emotional pitch, or tosses them back. But ride with the day.
I am Emily Post's vacuum system. Actually I'm making fun. I hope I entertain, but if I don’t call me Arbuthnot, or some old thing. Still dinner was wonderful & took so much preparing. Our garden passes through our mouths & down into the empty canals there. Generously we help each other with our selves through our lives. The evening learned something from it.
/August 14, 1977
Larry Goodell / Placitas, New Mexico