HE SAID, MARIE, MARIE, HOLD ON TIGHT
~ The Waste Land, "The Burial of The Dead", Eliot
~ The Waste Land, "The Burial of The Dead", Eliot
Saturday, June 28, 2008
i wrote this after leaving for new york.
I didn’t sleep the night before flying
into New York.
I spent the night
spinning a roomful of silk.
So when I emptied the room of myself,
The room would not be empty.
I stayed awake
to watch my sister waking.
Delivering her into the dawn,
her face disappeared
like a star.
I picked through the debris
of the years, deciding
what to take. Finally, I took with me
nothing more than
a pair of wings.
I am leaving now, I nudged my grandfather, still asleep.
What? he said, turning
his better ear towards my lips.
Nothing, I said, Get back to sleep.
I left. He continued sleeping,
as though woken by nothing more
than the slightest kiss
of some winged thing in passage.
the man at the gate
been reading a bunch of philip roths that the place where i work published. i also brought home ozick's heir to the glimmering world. i have an idea for a novel: about a country where spoken words have to be purchased. it opens with a birthday scene, and the line, "for my son's birthday we bought him a birthday song. it was expensive, but i did it on a whim, much to my husband's annoyance."
called home. my sister described my grandfather's body. the weirdest thing was that it didn't look like a person's body, she said, i went for the pre-funeral events, then flew to london and couldn't attend the crematorium. i keep thinking about how jay kept telling us how my grandfather kept mentioning that, "there was a man at the gate," the weekend before his heart failed. he didn't just see a man at the gate, he saw an a young chinese man, an indian man, and a caucasian man. when jay went to the door to see who was at the gate, she saw no one.
Monday, June 23, 2008
on sunday, we drove to central jersey for dinner. there was free flow of sangrias all afternoon. the uncles roasted an entire pig, and i taught the black and asian-american kids how to play lao ying jua xiao ji (the owl catches the little chicks). i wanna be the wolf, one of the kids said, ana said, no i want to be the wolf. why don't you guys rock paper scissors, i suggested. yes, he said, almost in glee, you said rock paper scissors! i stole a scooter. i played with the kids and ate fruit till the summer sun came down. i raced through the lawns screaming burger king burger king, marco polo. then we took the car home through the interstate 95. fell asleep in the car, woke up in tenafly, the mist all around us. i talk about the games i played all my life. zeropoint, circus-circus, pepsi cola (1-2-3!), sissy my baby. the games i played in shandong. the games he played.
i haven't been blogging because my internet connection's been really bad. i havent been emailing because i can't write an email without being interrupted by a bad connection. work is waiting and feeling occasionally useless but at the brink of something wonderful. went to watch ted leo and the pharmacists in hoboken. ill be going to watch aimee mann live for 30 bucks at the highline ballroom downtown end july--i wish chit and pak were there with me. archiving media clips, shelving atwood and kinnell and a whole lot of poetry books and write press releases, rejecting slush manuscripts. i feel like i'm standing at the margins of a room i can't enter. i go to merce cunningham studio with meredith to dance after work. you have to pay attention to details, i snap. and you can't live in my room everyday, i say, i need my space you know, then i slam the door and leave the house, leaving him in the room with his boxers and taking the keys, boarding the 1 train to the west village, where i wander alone for hours. i come back, feeling guilty, holding a wrapped bundle of baby's breath, and a bag of groceries. let's bake bread, i say, attempting to undo the damage with gentleness. the two of us are in the kitchen pressing our fingers into a bowl of wet flour, butter, milk, yeast. we hold our breath, wait for the dough to rise.
Friday, June 20, 2008
his mother gave me a silver and glass pendant, it's very strange getting a pendant from his mother. on his 23rd, i drove us back home over george washington bridge, and will probably drive him uptown to harlem tonight because he is going to be drunk again with his banker friends. i take the train 80 blocks downtown everyday to work. i am happy.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
my dad wrote
Monday, June 02, 2008
The Summer Train
He lived in a house near the railway tracks.
All through the night, the cargo trains would sound their inhuman calls, whoooo whoooo whoooo
When he was younger, they would recur like bad dreams. Prowl the night like wolves.
In the history of poetry, writing about trains has got to be the most overtraveled and worst route to take.
I dragged him screaming and kicking into Ezra Pound’s and Paul Theroux’s train with a map and digital camera and I LOVE NY t-shirt. God, not not Ezra Pound. Anything but Pound, he yelled.
We sat on his futon, waiting to board.
I was leaving winter, arriving into spring. The cold tapped my shoulders, brusque and impertinent, asking if I had a ticket into this country.
The terrible thing about those cargo trains was that no one rode them, he said. Completely empty, they whistled in the dark like ghost trains.
I did not know what I was doing in New York, except that I would be spending three months here when I was supposed to be in another country.
But there is a train filled with letters. They fly across the land like pigeons.
Summer announced its arrival with a screech and a stop. We stepped into the train, and fell asleep.
i heart new york
to overgeneralise. i think i'm beginning to be able to tell the difference between a jersey and a new york accent. the jersey accent feels more, homely, lazier, singsongy (maybe i associate these qualities with justin, thus jersey and justin are inextricable); the new york accent sounds sharper, more nasal, and slippy. this hardly makes sense, but i think it does.
today, sorted through royalty statements and read through unsolicited manuscripts, the slush pile. then i sent out 2 rejection letters, and one maybe-but-we-need-to-see-50-more-pages-and-then-we'll-see, and then, i felt bad. but not bad for too long, because the sun that fell on me when i got out of the cathedral parkway subway entrance was lo-ve-ly. i wish i had the self-assuredness of sophia, sophia with her little black dresses and cigarettes, but that's ok.
[me] dawn, singapore, new york city, ithaca.
holding on tight -- vol ii
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