Thursday, October 22, 2015

5-minute poem

Sometimes it's fun to write something in 5 minutes and then show it to people.

I woke up to a rainbow yesterday--this morning, a pair of dolphins.
A pelican, ridiculous, beady-eyed, a nuisance I should chase from the bowsprit,

But watching--it dwarfs the crouching cat, the curved tip of its beak scratches precisely, happy to find nits--I can’t.

A school of fish leap, vanish, too small to leave a mark on the water.

What to make of all this? Does it add up to anything besides itself?

Does it matter at all that I am here, watching?

I drink coffee, leave for work.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

What I did this summer

(I meant to finish and post this awhile ago, but forgot, and I just found it again and thought what the hell)

Lying in the darkened room in my dad and Wendy’s house in Portland--they have blackout drapes now, which I would have loved as a teenager--I can’t help but think about myself.
     Tallulah and I were visiting for a week. She was seven in July, an age I somewhat remember. When I was that age, we were living over on 53rd Street. It has become a mythic time, which probably would have been an ordinary life, had my sister and I not gotten suddenly, drastically uprooted. At age 11 and 9 people don’t usually have much control over their lives.
     This summer we went back to the house for the first time, Tallulah, my dad and me. It was not so much a place as a primal scene. We parked in the neighbors’ driveway. (Our old neighbors, the Longshores--it seemed possible that they would appear, though they’d been gone even longer than us.)
     The new owner comes out, jovial--“Wish I could say it was for sale!” We assure him we’re not in the market. Tell the story, in brief. He offers to show us around. He already knows some of the story. Apparently my mom turned up at his doorstep twenty-five years ago. He remembers her. He remembers her talking about how she kicked her husband out, made him live in the room in the garage. (It looks like the flowering cherry tree that bent over the driveway, dropping its impossibly fluffy blossoms like a soft carpet, is gone.)
     “I’m the husband,” my dad says.
     The man guffaws heartily. He shows us into the room in the garage, crammed with things all around the edges.
     “My wife’s dying.” He says this matter of factly. “When she’s gone, I’m going to change all this.”
     I know it’s a cliche, but everything’s so much smaller.
     Soon, we meet the wife--a slumped figure across the room (suddenly the distances seem big again), squinting, possibly deaf. Dying of heart failure.
     At the last minute, as we’re leaving, the man rushes back into the house and comes back a jar of pears--pears from the yard, canned by his wife.
     “I gave your mom some of these too, when she came—and she cried,” he said.
     I left the pears on the kitchen counter in Portland, ambivalent. Maybe eating them would tie me to that place forever. Did I want that, anymore? Or maybe they would give me back some of the time that the self I left behind, would never know, had lived.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015

Monday, September 7, 2015

Life in photos

Incoherent as it has been, including Kmart trips (Tallulah likes to try on masks and pick out skimpy underwear for me)...I find myself shopping for cookware, always choosing things for someone I am not quite, but maybe could be, or once was...

And trying to get dressed for work without a mirror. 
Spa day, birthday fantasy, shared with good friend Auriana.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cuba--Havana to Guantánamo and back

The door of the bank. Enormous doors everywhere.
Out the window of the casa particular.
Many of my pictures turned out bad or weird or from an odd angle because I kept taking them without looking to see what I was photographing. Things seemed to stay clearer in my mind that way. Photographing from up high seemed less invasive, too. 
In the Museo de la Revolución.
The "Hall of Mirrors" in the Museo, which used to be the "president's palace."
The museum of Guantánamo province. 
They really do have a bunch of those old American cars, just like you see in pictures.  They are apparently referred to as "almendrones," or big almonds.
Train cars made in Iran.
Giant machete statue in Santiago.
Back in Havana.
A house in Vedado. My friend and fellow researcher Don talked about how some of the people who lived in these grand houses thought the revolution would be just a flash in the pan. They left with a suitcase and never came back. Their houses are still full of china and furniture, right where they left them. Poor people were settled in them by the revolutionary government, and they lived, and still live, alongside those things. 
On the Malecón, in a 1953 convertible.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I have guilt about not having blogged in awhile, and yet I forget about it entirely. Part of that is the fact that it has been hard to get on the internet, in the slipstream of summer, on the run from UVI, and yet up until recently continually in the gaping eye of the university, anchored in Brewer’s Bay in full sight of the new student dorms and the administration building. Now we are in Culebra, which always feels like an odd and desperate place, but at least I am able to think again.
The complicated pleasures of life aboard. Technology is part of this. The frustrations of not being able to “connect,” but temporary freedom from endless pings, exigencies of connection, makes my physical reality so much more immediate.
     Guilt over not seeing Tallulah, and not being able to pay attention to her when I do see her, have been radically lessened by lack of internet and the decision to take her out of school. With extra time on my hands, I decide to immediately begin homeschooling. We explore, informed by the utopian vision of anarchy. Things find their own shape once we stop imposing a generalized order. We scan poetry, do science experiments involving copious amounts of food coloring, discover an aged Alexander Calder animating a strange mechanical circus he has created under a miniature big top, once Adam gets unlimited data on his new phone. Yes, we cluster around the internet again as a flickering campfire, but of course it, like everything, hangs on a thin thread, and will doubtless soon fall temporary victim to the vagaries of unforeseen circumstances. And we’ll feel frustrated, and yet breathe a sigh of relief.
Tai chi at Electric Beach