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Kendrick Davies

kendrick davies©2006


Interstices definitionA Friday is met with
enlivened temperament.
Making it through to
Friday exercises a wish
for time to slip through
our fingers.

Insular Saturday hides
between two stresses.
Landlocked, it enjoys the
Safety of late
Friday and early Sunday
to the greatest extent.

Sunday arrives, a gift and
a curse for some.
Every hour on Sunday is
Getting closer to the


There is privilege in self-awareness, and I realized that as I drove away from school that Friday. My second period had deteriorated into an exercise in managing behavior. I began to tell my colleagues that I had reached the end of my rope. But I had made it through to the end of the week and I was on my way to a movie. I was retreating into privilege by not allowing a bad class to affect me anymore. The farther I got away from the school, the happier I became.

I woke up dehydrated and lethargic, wanting diversion. The salty-spicy sausage and the red wine from last night’s dinner contributed to my state of mind. The next morning, a book publisher on NPR was talking the interstices of life as a theme for a story—an encyclopedia—about any particular life. Quotidian tasks have meaning. That is where life occurs; consequently, a diffident spirit cripples the writer who won’t agree that the small occurrences hold much significance. I could buy that. 

My movie group attended Gunner Palace at the Edina Theatre. After the depressing movie about an army regiment in Iraq, our large group went to see what fare could be obtained at D’Amico. I enjoyed the penne, tomatoes, spicy sausage, and cream sauce. The day was a space between a difficult week and a week that promised to be worse. What solace did I have? What routines could soothe my sadness? What could bring joy to this between time?


A typical Saturday—the safest, most insulated of the weekend days—consists of cleaning up around the neglected apartment. I identify the spaces of Saturday with the cleaning products whose scents fill my nostrils. This olfactory palette is set, used, and put away in a matter of hours. First, Tide wafts into my nostrils as the waterfall mixes the soap and a chemical-clean combination of fragrance and steamy goodness. Second, Cascade and Dawn—now conveniently packaged together in a plastic gem that melts in the dishwasher—permeates the kitchen as I speed through with freshly washed laundry imbued with the third Saturday morning scent, vanilla/lavender Downy. The fourth is Kaboom! toilet bowl cleaner. The smell is freshly floral, and I like the product for its purple color and viscosity. Fifth is the powerful assurance of cleanliness: chlorine bleach. Such an aggressive chemical and smell certainly improves the perception of cleanliness. In cleaning, perception is frequently enough. If I don’t deep clean the place, I’m not going to get TB.
Do these small moments consisting of smells have a large significance? I reflect on these moments—of interstices filled with cleaning and the olfactory experiences of the morning. As the world sits in a state of turmoil, this seems tactless. Again, I have retreated into privilege by listening to a story on public radio, considering how it applies to my day, and stopping to engage in the process of self-awareness. I started writing an encyclopedia entry about Saturday morning. One sub-heading of Saturday morning is smells.

While the dryer spins, a news report squawks about 2,000 dead service men and women in Iraq. I lie down to pass the laundry time. The news report fades. I fade in and out. The afternoon arrives unannounced. Maybe someone dropped something upstairs or there was the sound of a gunshot on the radio, but I woke up surprised that I fell asleep and a little aggravated because I knew The Metropolitan Opera playing in the other room meant noon had come and gone. The tender sounds of Cavalleria Rusticana rouse me from the Sleep Number Bed. The ravaged inner landscape of the teacher seeks relief, but seeking inspiration from opera is problematic. Clean sounds lead to tragic events like Canio stabbing Nedda and Silvio at the end of Pagliacci. Perhaps I can imaginatively embody my second period as Nedda. Perhaps retreat into art won’t suffice.


I never wanted to be someone who retreats into privilege, let alone apply a term like interstices to the weekend because it is between two workweeks.  The self-awareness has led to an encyclopedic, privileged, ultimately empty look at the mundane, at the small, at the quotidian.  Listening to public radio, using a bevy of cleaning products, reclining in a plush bed, and analyzing opera, fill the interstice of Saturday morning.  This is the cost of privileged self-awareness.
I am the ravaged singer trying to remember how the cinder bears the seed.



Old Man Winter and the Re-match

The ring is edged in darkness at
4:30, grayed in gradients to Earth’s
end. Shadows grow, ice scintillates,
contenders take their stances.