this early evening, the sun sets over a city, a city that I love, a city that I've loved and fallen in love in, a city that has held my heart, or represented it, a city in which I learned how to love, a city in which I learned so many things - how to be, how not to be, how to remember, how to forget, how, how, how. manhattan does its thing, mid-spring moment, a city unfolding at its seams, buds opening as other buds close
after seeing an old friend I just think, that this is it, this is what it's all made of, this sense of time and history and change, of age and transition, of eras and memories, of recollections, shared phrases, different perspectives. isn't the world constituted of this? isn't this what every life is made of? it will go, I think, it will happen the way it does, and I will always have these moments, I hope, that kind of perspective while the shadow grows long and the sunsets set and and and and and and and--
I cannot fully capture this moment, but you know what I speak of.
what exists in a life? why are you here? what brought you here? to where will you pass? is this all just a passing? them, her, him, passing? why not poetry? why not the words we used to words? life folds over itself, a living, a living folds over itself so that the numbers 36 meet the numbers 16, eternal return, eras return over.
since I ask these questions I won't find what I seek, I am told, until I ask different ones. an exasperated structural engineer once told me (dank basement, water dripping on our heads) if I kept on asking questions, I'll keep on finding problems. so these questions I ask are rhetorical, or I ask them because I am asking them, I vaguely know, that the answer isn't to be found in the question but maybe just the process of asking, the joy of asking in of itself. what lies in a life? what connects you to the source, the void, the electrifying current or absence at the center of it all? how do you speak of it -- or not, or never, always circling around it in metaphors, meant not to obscure, but vague, precisely because the indirect approach is sometimes more clear?
sometimes you go through an experience, and the whole experience permanently stretches your understanding of the world, for better or for worse. what slips in through a newly distended opening (is it an open mouth? or wide eyes?) is a new kind of world, one with extremes. one more vividly colored, perhaps.
sometimes I stand out on the pier at the edge of transmitter park, a pier in brooklyn that stretches over water towards manhattan, and do this thing that I've learned to do over the past year, in which I try to open my eyes as large as humanly possible, all the muscles in my face exercise towards the service of seeing the world whole. often this is at sunset, me making faces into a morphing sky. this exercise is inspired by alexander technique, an expansion of awareness, and when my face returns to normal, sometimes it feels like the scale of objects on the horizon changes, and my depth perception becomes calibrated to the sky. buildings don't quite become smaller, but while they are as large as they are, they also become as small as they are. the city is not just the city, but also a city. does that make sense?
here, this is it. this thing, the thing you've been looking for. always present.
you know? admist the ads and scrolls and feeds, there is the question of what this thing is. do you know what I mean? this thing, not just what's written on this page but the texture of this page itself, how it feels between forefinger and thumb? do you know what I'm talking about?
once many years ago, my mom, in the middle of a heated argument, exasperatedly said, "this is my first time having children, too!" that phrase stopped me in my tracks, the simple truth of it. this is my first time living life. this is my first time being this age. and somehow that phrase has given me a strange joy ever since, that many people have been alive, but that this is my first time -- at least, my first time remembering as such.
do you know what I am speaking of? I am either circuitously moving around a center or speaking directly about it.
if there's anything I am grateful of these days it's the experience of rubbing that page between fingers, or maybe getting to sit directly on some desert soil. sometimes a page in a book gets crumpled, but that's just the kind of thing that paper does. the texture of this thing is the texture of this thing. is yours smooth, rough, 240gsm, 30lbs, porous or fine? can you see through each page and read what's on the other side? does your ink marks feather out? does it hold water? do you like feeling its texture?
anyhow. if you are reading this, whether you are my future self or someone else, much love to you, in all seriousness; I have learned that this thing is too short to spend too much of it in anger or hurt or fear, that what's at stake is quite large, that this work is the work of being awake, to quote H, pounding her fist on the table in mischevious certainty, and a strange kind of goodbye, because I am leaving, and a hello, because I am arriving. goodbye, new york. hello, new york. goodbye, city. hello, city.
goodbye! hello! goodbye! hello! goodbye!