nummy nummers

I like my chocolate like I like my sex - dark, decadent and excessive, with a heavy tinge of bitterness, and a deep feeling of shame/remorse that comes immediately after swallowing.

Inspired by my friend Tina's giggle-inducing blog entry, An Ordinary Day: Sex and/or Chocolate?

overwriting (from the archives . . . and not)

I've always been conscious of the way things look, but even more so of the way they could be written.

I want to live as a poem. And maybe that is also why I so enjoyed the structure and ceremony of [my friend's] Catholic marriage rites, with their ancient beauty, their time-crafted rituals, their unabashed deference to tradition and comme-il-fautisme.

I feel like a madwoman at times - I chase after literary images and fetishize the mundane, if I have to.

And maybe that is why I like to be a tourist in life - that sort of behavior is forgivable in tourists. Encouraged, in fact.

I want to see life as a work of art - is is, sometimes. After all, art comes from life, coaxed from the grey quarry of the quotidian by the impractical, cloud-eyed miners of beauty. They swirl dirt around until they see a glistening speck, and then, by the strange alchemy of desire and imagination, they blow it into the pure gold of poetry. Silly they are, sometimes, but how else to endure it all? [. . .]

They/we are an odd lot, we self-described, self-appointed poets. We try to chronicle life, but maybe we only chronicle the shadows on the walls of our personal Platonic caves. And if we do wander outside to the fire, we warm our hands by it dumbly, almost callously, only to unfreeze our fingers long enough to stumble back into the cave and write about what we see flickering on the wall inside.

Are we fools or are we wise to isolate ourselves like this? Inspiration happens outside, but art can only be created in isolation. I suppose it's all about what one considers important - creativity or activity. Which loss would we shed more tears for? There never is a clear answer.

September, 2007 (on the way back from a friend's wedding).

My best moments, the best memories I've made have come when I was so busy being alive, there wasn't even time to touch pen to paper.

Once, I saw a quote by Colette; paraphrased from memory, it was something like "No great love story has ever been written while making love." Ah, there it is - the quandary of the writer. Does one write one's life or live it? The best manage both, in equal and complementary measure.

April 2, 2009.

springtime epiphany

I've had my adventures. No, I am not hanging up my travelling pack. Not now, not ever. But I've had my adventures. I've traveled, I've seen more than my share. I've written poems on beaches and barstools, I've felt the unfamiliar roll of foreign words in my mouth, I've met compelling strangers. I've lived songs. And if I haven't Found Myself, who is to say I was supposed to? Who is to say there is any one particular Self to find? I've found selves all over - abroad and at home.

Maybe the thing to do isn't to find yourself at all, but to leave pieces of yourself everywhere behind you. Like tiny graffiti scratched into wooden benches - leave bits of you in the people you encounter, in the places you visit. In the shadows of monuments, in the soil of meadows, in the fissures of rocks, in the cracks between floorboards. Stuck like gum under tables, like an earring behind a hotel nightstand, like a coin on the murky floor of a fountain, a pond, a lake, a river, an ocean.

Maybe the ultimate goal is to get to your deathbed light as possible, light as a breeze, divested of all but memory and heartbeat. And then, leave the latter in that bed, tangled in the last linens you will ever imprint with your warmth. The former, you can take with you.

It's time to stop mourning the "waste" of years. In the most meaningful terms, years are never wasted. I am what I am because of all I've slogged through. The caked mud on my boots contains a million tiny fossils.

And there are still miles and miles of mud to go.


subterranean nocturne (from the archives)

The rats have all gone to sleep, but the trains, they say, are still running, past the nearly empty platforms with their scuffed wooden benches, each of which serves as this night's refuge to a human being, almost unrecognizable, buried as they are beneath their piles of earthly possessions.

But are the contents of their shopping carts and garbage bags so different, really, from the jumble in my purse or the inventory of my house? Probably not - they are all collections of accidentally acquired items that we have charged with a portion of our humanity, intending them to give us a measure of power - a sense of belonging or owning - ending up, instead, by giving them a kind of mute, imaginary power over us.

A surplus of baggage betrays a kind of fragility, buries our humanity. We have learned - the lucky ones - to leave enough of it at home to trick the world into believing in our independence, our security and stability. But we are all buried beneath our earthly baggage, aren't we, whether it's material or mental. We cart our histories around with us. We burrow into them for warmth or comfort, or simply to ward off irrelevant or unwanted sensory stimuli - like the woman wrapped in her old overcoat, ignoring the rattle of the trains and the shouts of the clean-up crew.

The trains come and go according to their practical schedule - take whichever one you wish, or none at all.

The small, silent group of passengers is a breathing reliquary of stories. Hard to imagine anyone taking a Brooklyn-bound train casually at 2:30 a.m. on a Wednesday. We are all coming from somewhere.

Always are, I guess.

Tired, still faces; some dozing, some reading or listening to music. A few - the well-dressed group sitting near me - chatting so animatedly, they clearly just had a pleasant evening. Two girls in high heels and a man in a pin-striped sports coat, a Canon SLR slung around his neck. Wonder what he's got on his memory card.

I suppose everyone has within them a pearly kernel of a story. Sometimes, I am indifferent to that. Other times, I wish I could plumb the depths of these forgettable faces, to see what lives they lead outside our shared bit of time.

I guess that's why I sometimes don't mind talking to odd strangers. Like that guy I met near Coney Island, who claimed to be the son of God. Was he crazy? Possibly. But he just believes in his personal convictions, his intuition. Who am I to judge or slight that?

How different, really, is the belief that one is meant to be the Messiah from the belief that one is meant to be a lawyer, a painter, an accountant? How different is a heaping old shopping cart from a Vuitton purse bulging with year-old receipts? Similar enough, I think, not to judge or look too much askance. It's all a series of choice and chances, anyway, that bring us to where we end up.

October 8, 2008


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