Many thanks to participants and readers for a very compelling 31 days!
I don’t know what your room looks like right now, but mine back in New York looks smaller from here. My memory of you is as large as ever. If you were here right now I’d take you to that café on the corner and no matter what else we ate, we would order dessert. Maybe a piece of that cake I had the other night—it was pink, with raspberries and rose petals, and I love to think about how the hands you use to build furniture are the same hands you use to decorate cakes and turn pages of books and gesture when you talk. I like the particular way you say, “Ohh, that’s great!” and how you always sound the “t” in “exactly.” I love how your thoughts are always bigger than your body, how you have as bad a sense of direction as I do, how you appreciate the art of happily staying home alone, and how you still believe in changing the world with words. What I really want to tell you is that I hope you have light. I hope you carry every wavelength in your pocket and make the colors dance when you tell your students about the world.
What is Home?
What is home to you? That’s the interview question I asked most frequently this month. It’s also a question I regularly ask myself. What is my home? What does home mean to me? And what does the loss of home really entail? Similarly, what freedoms does the rejection of home (society) provide for those for whom homelessness is a conscious choice?
The responses I received from the people I talked to this month were as unique as those who gave them. Read On…
Yes, there is dark matter here on Earth.
There’s dark matter in my basketball
(we fill our tires with it). There is a little
in number 2 pencils, pupils,
and under the doormat (that’s why
I can’t hear you from the garden).
The librarian is mostly dark matter –
she tends the large patch
hanging over the gas station
(sometimes birds fly into it).
There’s dark matter in the pills
in my cousin’s yellow lunchbox,
the sink in the girls bathroom,
and our dusty math books.
Simon’s dad stamps it off his boots.
There’s dark matter in the reflection
of my co-worker’s wedding ring,
which has us both
taking careful steps backward.
I like how Julian Green writes about you,:
Until you have wasted time in a city, you cannot pretend to know it well. The soul of a big city is not to be grasped so easily; in order to make contact with it, you have to have been bored, you have to have suffered a bit in those places that contain it. Anyone can get hold of a guide and tick off all the monuments, but within the very confines of Paris there is another city (Paris, translated by J.A. Underwood)
Paris, even though I’ve visited you three times, I can’t claim to understand your other city. I’ve enjoyed you, been bored with you, gotten lost inside you, made discoveries about you, met interesting people inside you, felt alone and sad in you, but underneath all this I haven’t actually needed to be a part of you in the way I needed New York. I needed work, friends, stability, and identity that onlyNew York could give me and over time I found them. But in you, the surface-level-Paris, I needed space for wondering, for wandering. I needed to disconnect fromNew York. This is the beauty of being a tourist, a vacationer, a friend to a place that is beautiful because you see only what it wants you to see. After spending a month inParis I feel like I’ve finally begun to understand the other city of New York.
GOODNIGHT POEM POEM
and rhythm glue
Hope that we
will meet again
Goodbye my friends, I’ve got to go.
Thank you for being here on this,
but hopefully the beginning of
many more times together
wore my eyeballs on my fingertips
looking, but not really seeing
crushed up gold dust and tried to eat it
but it just got stuck in my teeth
took a bus to a party in Kew
these two little Latin goddesses
threw their bodies at the audience
A flamenco dancer stamped her feet
then the drummers lifted our feet
higher and higher
until they crashed back down
one after the other.
People asked me, “What do you do?”
I said, “I write”
for the first time.
You are beautiful,
we’ll be seeing each other again soon.