Sunday, August 30, 2020

NY missive no 170 - Moving

A lot of people are moving. Each weekend the streets of Queens are dotted with U Hauls. I imagine it’s even more the case in Manhattan (which we’ve only been to a few times these past few months – it seems like another World although it’s just across the river). Around 31st Avenue there are often guys from the “Piece of Cake” moving company with their purple t-shirts, I guess their base is there. 

And just now as I was writing, a big spider packed up her web. I had no idea they did that. I thought she was spinning it at first, a large web stretching from a pole to the wall of the next door house, but realized she was gathering the threads up with her front legs - they disappeared as she moved until the web was no more.

NY missive no 169 - Listening

Recently I’ve been mourning language. Or more like lamenting its loss, cleaving to words used with care and creation, or neither of those but with authenticity, and feeling deadened by the torrents of words detached from souls.

Much of language seems like a superhighway, charging through space on a predetermined route to get us, anyone, from point a to point b without paying much attention to what’s around us, provided we reach that destination of the message and if we are not careful we will be lulled like on highways at night when the street lamps flash by, one, two, three, four five, six, seven, one, two, whoosh, whoosh. (Of course there will be some crashes along the way). What I miss is language that comes from the gut. Person to person. Unfiltered, unedited, vernacular, surprising, agenda-free, that’s when you want to listen.

Which makes me realize that this is a question of choice, of attention. Of choosing to not to be barraged and instead create the space to read and to hear the wonderful words of mystery and love and power that are out there yet so easily passed by.

(Speaking of which - read the "landless acknowledgement" at the start of Nate Marshall's new book of poems, Finna. Then the poems too!)

When Arundhati Roy talked about moving “lightly” through this portal that’s the pandemic, the lightly can be read in many ways. Yes, lighter as in freer from the polluting, divisive baggage of the path we were on before (wouldn’t that be good?!) and lighter to imagine and fight for another World. Also, lighter so that we have more capacity for attention.