After deleting 139 photos of my ex, my photo gallery looks like I’ve only ever vacationed by myself. I suppose that’s sort of true: Me leaning casually against Hadrian’s Wall; me at Edith Piaf’s grave; me, in an optical illusion, touching the top of the Temple of Kukulkan as if it’s miniature and I’m a giant.
I can barely remember feeling hot that day, in Chichen Itza, or motion sick from the bus ride. I recall those details like an itinerary, like a packing list, like a fact that could also be a lie. Like a movie I once saw while sick with the flu that I later, inadvertently, adopted as a series of scenes from my own life. Memory is like that: Fallible, slippery. Continue reading
I found a folder of 68 photos, from a 2015 trip to Ireland, on a forgotten SD card. Like finding an old role of film, it turned up some treasures and lots of questions. What is this shot even of? What was I feeling on this day? Who was I, three years ago? So this week’s post is a flash fiction on that theme.
It’s not this town. And you’re glad, though this town is scenic, sprawling along a mineral-gray lake. The banks are mossy and the sky is pale blue and the hill beyond the village is artfully terraced by ancient people who carved civilization from the land with Iron Age tools. Maybe it was Bronze Age. You should know from all the museums but you don’t know. Continue reading
I was invited by online arts and culture magazine HOLLER to be an Observer in Residence for a week in January. It was an fun challenge to post a photo and up to 300 words describing what I was thinking about or inspired by that day.
This is a snippet from Day Five:
There are tiny altars everywhere. I’ve started to notice them, focus in on them. A Buddha in a tattoo studio, a crystal scattering light on a window sill, a bell calling us to the present moment, a murmuration of starlings swooping, in formation, in the deep blue of evening.
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There’s a candy wrapper and an unused match
on the bathroom floor. A covert picnic,
abandoned. I’ve come here to press my face
against the cool white tile. Summer is ruthless
today in its death throes. Where hurricanes can’t
touch land, the earth quakes. Where the flood water
doesn’t rush in, the earth burns. How
should I reinvent myself in this exodus
from one season into the next? This liminal space
where even the mirror is a blank uncertainty.
I travel with less baggage these days, casting
ballast off like sin. Even my bones
grow lighter. I should be densely built
for the long winter; I am the dry ligaments
of a skeletal wing. A thing of parchment,
exhalation, the cellular memory of flight.
Is it okay to be happy today, when
the world is so sad? To fold into the arms
of pink and yellow, to carry my grief
like an Easter egg — fragile but vivid.
Maybe I’ll leave this sorrow among the leaves
of new grass, its green the pulse of breathing
and of ceasing to breathe; of all that ebbs
and flows again. Maybe I’ll string this sorrow
among the branches of the cherry trees
for the birds to weave into nests, or for the wind
to carry away. Maybe I’ll plant it deep
in the still-dreaming earth
and see what blooms.
Wherein I posted lots of photos of my face, my book, pretty trees, breathtaking buildings, and cute dogs.