Part of Eve’s Discussion

Marie Howe

It was like the moment when a bird decides not to eat from your
hand,
and flies, just before it flies, the moment the rivers seem to still
and stop because a storm is coming, but there is no storm, as 
when
a hundred starlings lift and bank together before they wheel 
and drop,
very much like the moment, driving on bad ice, when it occurs to 
you
your car could spin, just before it slowly begins to spin, like
the moment just before you forgot what it was you were about to 
say,
it was like that, and after that, it was still like that, only
all the time.

Movement Song by Audre Lorde

I have studied the tight curls on the back of your neck   
moving away from me
beyond anger or failure
your face in the evening schools of longing
through mornings of wish and ripen
we were always saying goodbye
in the blood in the bone over coffee
before dashing for elevators going
in opposite directions
without goodbyes. 

Do not remember me as a bridge nor a roof   
as the maker of legends
nor as a trap
door to that world
where black and white clericals
hang on the edge of beauty in five oclock elevators   
twitching their shoulders to avoid other flesh   
and now
there is someone to speak for them   
moving away from me into tomorrows   
morning of wish and ripen
your goodbye is a promise of lightning   
in the last angels hand
unwelcome and warning
the sands have run out against us   
we were rewarded by journeys
away from each other
into desire
into mornings alone
where excuse and endurance mingle   
conceiving decision. 
Do not remember me
as disaster
nor as the keeper of secrets
I am a fellow rider in the cattle cars
watching
you move slowly out of my bed   
saying we cannot waste time
only ourselves.

Audre Lorde, “Movement Song” from From a Land Where Other People

Do Ho Suh

I love this idea of place and identity informing each other. I always want to be in beautiful spaces and not ugly ones, for just this reason, I'm hopeful/afraid they will enter my soul:

"After living in [my] apartment for some time, I realized that it gave me a sense of protection that was quite physical. It became a kind of skin, and I felt so comfortable that I was almost not even aware of the space around me any more. Eventually, I even started to experience this space as entering inside of me, as if it had shifted from a skin to something like an internal organ." -Do Ho Suh

More photos and information are available here.

Notes on Flaws

I have more faith in the capacity of my own regret to turn back time and allow me to respond well than I do in someone else's capacity to overlook my mistakes. It's horrible to depend upon another person's understanding. Still, so much of how I judge a situation is based upon how other people respond. Maybe that's as it should be. We check each other.  

I recently read "Turn of the Screw" with my class. In the most basic sense, it's all about the way we create stories around things we don't understand. Sometimes the stories are off, in very significant ways, because we see the world around us rather than ourselves in the world. That's always the struggle, isn't it? To find meaning in the right place. It helps to have a second opinion. Or a third, or a fourth. And sometimes you just need a friend who texts back, "It's the best thing you could have done."

Kikuko Morimoto

I really love the colors in these, especially on this overcast February day, bundled in soft, dark fabrics. I haven't bought flowers in ages, and maybe it's time to pick some up. My apartment has succulents and cacti on the windowsills, but there's an optimism in pink and yellow that no amount of green can answer. 

Love & Baseball

I wish I had known when I was younger that wonderful people would come into my life at the wrong time, and things wouldn't work out for that reason. An ex-boyfriend sent over this short essay the other day, because it reminded him of me. As painful as it is to believe in anything that ends, every time I meet someone I really like, I still believe in baseball:

"There are those who learn after the first few times. They grow out of sports. And there are others who were born with the wisdom to know that nothing lasts. These are the truly tough among us, the ones who can live without illusion, or without even the hope of illusion. I am not that grown-up or up-to-date. I am a simpler creature, tied to more primitive patterns and cycles. I need to think something lasts forever, and it might as well be that state of being that is a game; it might as well be that, in a green field, in the sun."

-A. Bartlett Giamatti, "Green Fields of the Mind" (see link above)

Resolutions 2017

I like the idea of resolutions, but not the scope of the ones I've seen in magazines. Yesterday, I read an article about eliminating sugar from your diet, and while I can see the sense of that suggestion, I love the feeling of floured dough beneath my hands and the smell of fruit softening in the oven. 

However, I would like to do things (walking, cooking, writing, relationships ) more slowly in 2017.  My inclination is always urgency over hesitation.

Aspasia

Late at night
men entered her ground-floor
room via the window.
I'd nicknamed her Aspasia, which she liked.
Then she left us. She was a waitress, a hairdresser,
and other things. I ran into her only rarely.
When I did I yelled out Aspasia!
and she smiled without stopping.
We were the same age, she'll have died years ago.
When I enter hell, almost out of habit
I'll shout Aspasia! at the first ghost who smiles.
She'll keep on walking of course. We'll never know
who she was and who she wasn't--
that butterfly who had next to nothing but a name
I chose to give her.

-Eugenio Montale (trans. William Arrowsmith)

 

Envoi

Go, dumb-born book, 
Tell her that sang me once that song of Lawes: 
Hadst thou but song
As thou hast subjects known, 
Then were there cause in thee that should condone
Even my faults that heavy upon me lie
And build her glories their longevity. 

Tell her that sheds
Such treasure in the air, 
Recking naught else but that her graces give
Life to the moment, 
I would bid them live
As roses might, in magic amber laid, 
Red overwrought with orange and all made
One substance and one colour
Braving time. 

Tell her that goes
With song upon her lips
But sings not out the song, nor knows
The maker of it, some other mouth, 
May be as fair as hers, 
Might, in new ages, gain her worshippers, 
When our two dusts with Waller’s shall be laid, 
Siftings on siftings in oblivion, 
Till change hath broken down
All things save Beauty alone.
 

--Ezra Pound

Lost Things

"They are lost, but also not lost but somewhere in the world. Most of them are small, though two are larger, one a coat and one a dog. Of the small things, one is a certain ring, one a certain button. They are lost from me and where I am, but they are also not gone. They are somewhere else, and they are there to someone else, it may be. But if not there to someone else, the ring is, still, not lost to itself, but there, only not where I am, and the button, too, there, still, only not where I am."

-- Lydia Davis

Carl Phillips

I can't get enough of Carl Phillips, lately--bruised hopes, stubborn curiosity, moments of grace...

Somewhere Holy

for Erin, for others

There are places in this world where   
you can stand somewhere holy and be

thinking If it’s holy then why don’t
I feel it, something, and while waiting, 

like it will any moment happen and   
maybe this is it, a man accosts you, 

half in his tongue, half in yours, he   
asks if maybe you are wanting to get

high, all the time his damaged finger   
twitching idly like on purpose at a

leash that holds an animal you can’t   
quite put your finger on at first, until

you ask him, ask the man, and then   
he tells you it’s a weasel and, of

course, it is, you’ve seen them, you   
remember now, you say Of course, a weasel. 

There are men inside the world who, never   
mind how much they tell you that they’re

trying, can’t persuade you that it isn’t   
you, it’s life, it’s life in general

where it hurts, a fear, of everything, 
of nothing, when if only they would name

it maybe then you’d stay, you all the   
time aware it’s you that’s talking, so

who’s going anywhere but here, beside them,   
otherwise why come, why keep on coming, 

when you can’t get to believing what   
they tell you any more than you believed

the drugs the other man was offering   
wouldn’t harm you. Still, you think, you

took them and you’re still alive, enough   
to take the hand, that wants, that

promises to take you to where damage is   
a word, that’s all, like yes, so Yes you

say, I’ll come, you tell him Show me.