It’s Walker Percy’s Hundredth Birthday and We Suck

… but here’s the beginning of an epic poem about the time a young man met the man himself:

November 22, 1989

The day I met Walker, the rain had fallen
in Louisiana sheets, and I’d left
my tent illicitly pitched in the Bogue Falaya
State Park, along with a bookish bottle
of Early Times I’d taken a few swigs off of
in the dark the night before as pine cones pitched
and fell outside as if in triadic morse code
from Flannery in heaven telling me grace was in
the river. And alligators, too, I reckoned.
I walked the cracked sidewalks of Covington, aimlessly,
dazed by the wonder of seeing vines sprouting
through the cracks in a sacramental vision,
a concelebration of the namer and the named,
and lept across the flashflood puddles
as I made my way towards no destination
but found myself in The Kumquat bookstore
to oggle shelves bursting with signed copies
of The Moviegoer, The Last Gentleman, Love in the Ruins, Lancelot,
The Second Coming, The Thanatos Syndrome, Lost
in the Cosmos, The Message in the Bottle, books
that had changed (and continue to change) my life.
Oh Walker (Oh Rory) I was twenty-four
and pining for a woman I was also
on the run from in triangular
despair (yet thanks in part to you I also
was aware, at least a little — a foothold —
of the despair, contrary to that Kierkegaardian
epigraph, precisely pitched though it is).
Oh Walker: so I bought a stack of books,
some for me and some for those I loved,
and left instructions with the keeper of
the store to have you encode, in your
physician’s scrawl, your cracked prescriptions
where the vines of love and truth might grow from bourbon
and ink, the cumulative bliss of limitation,
where you and I might clear a space for being.


  1. It’s a toss up which is better–the poem or the blog post title….

  2. Louise Orrock says

    It has rained hard at some time almost every day this year in London because I have to put the feeding tray under the table. It was mild before Christmas but since then it has been mainly like we’re living in Scandinavia or Russia, although I don’t know that they have so much rain.

  3. Louise Orrock says

    Also, if you don’t mind me writing it, my shit stinks from either the food or gas or both, which is new this year, and there are surveillance cars driving down my lane even now at 11.30. The drones/planes whine when I get up in the morning or if I log onto the computer.

  4. Louise Orrock says

    And now in response to what I’ve written there are sirens in the distance, which sounds like paranoia but after 4 years you know when they have been instructed to respond to you, which is the only charitable way to explain it.

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