Poem: Anemoia

Anemoia is defined as “nostalgia for a time you’ve never known.”

Top photo: Nick Scheerbart on Unsplash; right photo, Squared.one on Unsplash.

I’m going to paste the text below the collage in case it’s too small to read; I feel like it might be but I’m having a hard time making it bigger.

squared-one-212144-unsplash-COLLAGE

Remember— the long late summer evenings
we never spent beside the canals,
bicycles not leaned against lampposts still unlit,
witbiers with their drizzles of orange never drunk?

No.  We never sent postcards back home,
bright with foreign stamps; never stacked
up Polaroids with garish magnets from Munich or Prague,
never ran up phone bills with calls lit with tears.

I was never there.  I gave the best years of my life
to a different sorrow, monochrome and beyond redemption.
April in London, Christmas in Sydney— it happened somewhere,
for someone.  Not for us: tender, forgetful, young too late.

Take Me to Church 4/14/19: Jesus Is a Glittery Supernova

glittery supernova
Top: Javardh on Unsplash; bottom, ESA/Hubble by NASA

Today is Palm Sunday, which we observed in the traditional manner of singing along with Matt’s rendition of David Bowie’s “Starman” and liberally dousing ourselves and each other with biodegradable glitter.  Donna picked up a handful of it and cried “Woo!” on her way to deliver the Ancient Testimony, the Palm Sunday narrative according to Luke; Valerie, before gracing us with the good news according to James Baldwin, more cautiously, dipped her palm in the sparkly bowl and commented, “Praise be to God.”  And, perhaps to avoid any further trouble with NYU and the NYPD following a minor security incident resulting from this year’s burning of the palms on Ash Wednesday, we skipped the palms entirely and brought home only what shimmering bits remained stuck to our clothes (and hair, and bags, and coffee cups, and…).  But it’s Judson.  We’ll surely find new trouble before long.

Continue reading “Take Me to Church 4/14/19: Jesus Is a Glittery Supernova”

Take Me to Home 3/31/19: I Come from Down in the Valley

go home
Top: Gram and Coach’s neighbor cat, Charlie; bottom left, crocuses in Pennsylvania; bottom right, daffodils from Virginia.  Photos mine.

When I’d nearly reached my grandparents’ house on Saturday, I took a look at the Wyoming Valley that lay below me just before I turned onto Interstate 81.  Maybe it was just the late-winter malaise of bare trees and a sky that hadn’t been penetrated by afternoon sunshine yet, but everything looked a little tired and also not-quite-familiar, though I spent the first twenty-three years of my life in northeastern Pennsylvania.  I didn’t exactly grow up in Bruce Springsteen’s “The River,” but it always hit a little too close to (if you will) home, and when I inquire about the local economy when I go back there, I always get the same answer: there aren’t enough good jobs, we thought we’d do better than our parents did, we’re barely keeping up.  And the Valley itself looked that way as I turned: a long-defunct mill here, the ghost of the demolished Huber Breaker and the asbestos traces it may have left behind there.

But that’s just to set the scene and explain why I didn’t get to church this weekend.  And while it might be true that, as John Mulaney explained about the Catholic Church, “They have them out of town,”  on Sunday morning I was measuring pastel M&Ms into tiny organza bags for favors for my sister’s wedding shower before I’d even finished my first cup of coffee.  Maybe this was my way of keeping the Sabbath, honoring my mother: writing all the place cards so they’d all be in the same handwriting, tying ribbons around jar candles.

Continue reading “Take Me to Home 3/31/19: I Come from Down in the Valley”