July Journal, ’22

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Summer envelopes the world in a blinding scorch. Extremes that we who know something about wintering are not accustomed to. The city ablaze within a fog of sweat and concrete, slow and sparse signs of life. My days home from wandering must be strictly regimented — hour by hour with the scheduled task, whether obligatory or recreational, so that there are no wasted minutes of this awakening. The opportunity of each golden moment extracted to its maximum. How I wish there were more balance with the rest of the year, rather than this tunnel-vision preoccupation with the daily school grind. Recovery, rediscovery of the senses, of the world near and far. Retreat, remedies. Sweltering peace and long, sky-lit days. The dream of cycles, seasons, murmurs from indignant earth, holding onto its fierce intelligence. Rest and re-focus, recalibration of the body towards synchronicity with self.

“There is something maddeningly attractive about the untranslatable, about a word that goes silent in transit.” – Anne Carson

For so long, it’s always felt like there was never really a clear avenue of transit between the sensations and half-formed thoughts floating within the walled-off capsule of the interior world and the waiting, expectant ear of the interlocutor. This path, which seemed paved over and polished when it came to other speakers, was obstructed with brambles, thorns, and giant solitary trees within my silent chest. Talk and discourse, always a rough and inexact translation of the mind’s lonely castle, language being a sort of learned, mystical magic. The voice would be the dragon-hearted, stringed wand for spellcasting and story-weaving. Speech is the way we attempt to see into others and unravel / unburden ourselves from the stones at the core of our still fluidity. It is not so much translation as a transfiguration.

Mid-day traverse through the neighborhood. An apathetic assortment of sharply textured angles magnifying the sun’s glare. New pedestrian buttons now at the intersection, because it is now harder to cross the street. I pass by the doctor’s office (where a year ago, we puzzled through the causes of my insomnia) and Palmer Park, still within the swelter except for the lone, pensive dog walker (where we once picnicked and listened to the lugubrious strings of European folk music in a hopeful prayer that the pandemic would soon end). The small celebratory flag banner across an iconic window, once the looking-glass of imperiled inspiration, is now drab and bleached of its colors. The condos in progress leer with their ridiculous windows, vacant of promise. The city feels used up, tired. Relentlessness of summer and time’s drag, fading and drying like a cut petal. Undercurrent of angst in the onward plod towards home.

Advisory Journal: Reflecting on One Year

It's hard to believe, we said.
How the days have run 
away from us as
in flames extinguishing
one by one down a path
as endless as it is finite, 
all the while waking, getting
half-way dressed, minding
the carpeted steps on our
house-bound routes. 

I remember it as if it were today,
they said. One year buried
within the bitter air of home,
honeyed with our distraction,
siblings, curl of soft pets,
rent by the nameless lull behind
unsleeping eyes, the relentless
light from screens that afford us
everything but our peace --

I want to be with someone,
I want to be someone, some felt,
calling to say they have considered
undoing their life at some point
at the age of twelve, and how
no one else will notice because
the world has become a vacuum
of attention in the way we
vacate our eyes and our skin,
feet feeling no earth.

We want to go back, everyone wrote,
to end this dream of us circling
through irreparable motions
and dissolving into the panels
of black boxes, to be begged
to come up to the surface again
by a familiar voice with no presence,
while the great wave of our grief
breaks over us, tumbling us into the sun.  


The fact of walking:
destination undecided
music spooling both ears
like those days from park reservoir
to the Met as the flowers
on the trees unfurled, the world astride
on waves of my reverie,
to plant one roving foot
on pavement's immediacy
pressing ambition to
concrete, bodies swirl
and buzz around traffic lights,
the other foot floating down
its heel with rumination:
It's both and all,
joy and never enough, 
thought misdirected,
direction misgiving
which we trail, some
paces behind where I slow
because the light from the trees
is just right