Saturday, June 9, 2012

Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful

(I know...the last entry was supposed to be the last entry, but this morning, I woke up and found Horses Make a Landscape More Beautiful by Alice Walker, and I remembered all the times that I have read her writing, and it is grey and almost rainy outside, so I sat on the black leather couch with some coffee and found this poem.)


These mornings of rain
when the house is cozy
and the phone doesn't ring
and I am alone
though snug
in my daughter's
fire-red robe

These mornings of rain
when my lover's large socks
cushion my chilly feet
and meditation
has made me one
with the pine tree
outside my door

These mornings of rain
when all the noises coming
from the street
have a slippery sound
and the wind whistles
and I have had my cup
of green tea

These mornings
in Fall
when I have slept late
and dreamed
of people I like
in places where we're
obviously on vacation

These mornings
I do not need
my beloveds' arms about me
until much later
in the day.

I do not need food
I do not need the postperson
I do not need my best friend
to call me
with the latest
on the invasion of Grenada
and her life

I do not need anything.

To be warm, to be dry,
to be writing poems again
(after months of distraction
and emptiness!)
to love and be loved
in absentia
is joy enough for me.

On these blustery mornings
in a city
that could be wet
from my kisses
I need nothing else.

And then again,
I need it all.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

At last.....the last

Weightless - Brian Eno

1. "We just want to stay with you!!! You are leaving....we want to be with you!!!" - on asking the students how they want their schedule to be during the last week of half days. Monday - Thursday are going to be divine.
2. Giving plants away to a student who has taken care of them all year. I bought him an epiphyte at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden over the winter and he has taken such pride in its care. I gave him all the classroom plants. Yesterday, he took the first load home in a white cardboard box. Inside it, carefully placed, were a jade plant and saucer, four African violets, his epiphyte and a purple watering can. Today he took home a night-blooming cereus in a hanging basket.
3. Finishing things, no matter how hard that is for me.
4. Dressing up like a Fireman from Fahrenheit 451 to celebrate the life of Ray Bradbury, the importance of books, and the value of being a smidge anarchistic.
5. Cooking dinner for oneself on a rainy night, in a friend's kitchen, whilst drinking a glass of wine and listening to good music. Those moments are what it is all about.

Nightlite - Bonobo

Today, I drove back to my friend's house, the old Germantown house where I have been staying for about two weeks, at around 4:30. I drove up 5th street, out of the ghetto, or the Ojo de Oro as sometimes it is called, into northwest Philly, and back into beautiful Germantown. Over the last two weeks, I have often thought that had I lived in Germantown, would my experience of Philadelphia been fundamentally different? Most definitely yes, but I still think I would be moving on. 

I leave Philly in a week! A week from now, I will be grilling with friends here at this house, drinking beer and eating food with the good people in my life, and finishing packing my car. My car has become a three-dimensional Tetris game of my accoutrement: the junk I saved after the massive sell off. 

You've Got the Love - Florence and the Machine

So that's it. It is amazing how much can change in a year: how the course of your life can change, how you can have one plan and then another and then the better one just shows up in front of your eyes and you can be sitting on a roof in Mexico and realize you don't have to have an excuse for anything in life, you just have to make choices and do things and stay true to yourself and remember that you always know the right answer.

The other day, I had my exit interview with my principal, and the funniest thing happened. We were talking about all the my positives and negatives about the school, what worked and what didn't, and I told her the funniest thing, something that I hadn't even realized before I spoke it aloud. I thanked her because, out of the miasma that was my Philadelphia experience, the one place of stability was the school. The school was nuts, don't get me wrong, but its consistency in nuttiness was the one thing I could count on here. I knew, more or less, what was going to happen every day, what the walls looked like, where to park my car, how to get lunch from the Dominican restaurant down the street, where to pick up last minute supplies on Front Street if I needed them. Isn't that funny? School was my place of stability in a city of craziness.

Papa Legba - Talking Heads

So tonight I am sitting in this yellow room, looking at piles of books and two suitcases of clothes, and a mantle covered with photos of the people I love, and am realizing that I am out of here so quickly. Epiphanies are funny things: the choice comes in actually listening to what you learn from yourself, and for acting on those realizations. I think, perhaps, that most of us know what we should do about 90% of the time, but there are so many distractions that stop us from acting. 

So happy am I to realize that Philadelphia was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Thanks for reading. There will be a new, better blog soon, I think. Probably. For now, though, I am going to enjoy my next six days......

Philadelphia - Bruce Springsteen

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Julie With... - Brian Eno

Wrapping up things in Philadelphia mean wrapping up things here in the blogosphere, too. I plan to start a new blog, when the new projects begin, when I settle into the patterns of a new life...but for right now, I have chosen just to point out some great things about the city that I will be leaving in 11 days. 11 days!

I realized today that I arrived here one year ago tomorrow. It seems fitting to end the blog tomorrow, somehow. New projects on the horizon!

Can't Run But - Paul Simon

What are the great things about Philly? Those of you who have read, loyally, over the last year, may wonder whether there are good things about Philly! I apologize for my negativity this year. Honestly, at this point, now that I am staring at the end point, I believe that Philly was the best thing that ever happened to me. It shook me out of my comfort zone, challenged me, but mostly, made me face parts of myself I had always wanted to avoid. After that long and difficult process, I ended up in a much better place than I had been in, maybe, fifteen years.

So. Good things!!!

1. Reading Terminal Market. If you haven't been, you should. I just had dumplings from Reading Terminal last weekend for the first time, and they were delicious! There are lots of amazing things there, including organic produce, Amish ladies who make sandwiches in lightning speed, really sweet guys who sell you slices of pizza, and of course, delicious ice cream.

2. Pilates classes with Timeree at Sweat Gym....she makes the monthly fee worth it. Seriously, my body has not looked this good in, well, probably forever. She is also funny and integrates imaginary baby animals into her class routines.

3. The trees along 5th street, between Pine and Market. I drive along 5th every day, well, I used to, until I moved out last week. Over the last year, I have watched these trees that shade the old buildings of the historical parts of Philly change colors vividly as the seasons change. I have seen them green, yellow, red, orange, naked and then budding green again.

4. Bicycling through the city. If you remember, I got in a bad bike wreck when I first moved here. I was terrified of trolley tracks for months, but now I love bicycling in this nutty place. I love negotiating with cars, speeding along streets, blowing through stop signs....all of it.

5. Pizza. Seriously, y'all....Philly knows pizza and knows it well. I eat pizza ALL the time here, and will miss it like crazy when I am gone. I think I am going to have to start making pizza all the time because I will miss it so much. Whether it's Lorenzo's late at night, Gianfranco's during the day, Wolf Street Pizza when you are hanging out with your roommate watching Netflix, the pizza in Philly is great. My favorite combination? Eggplant and broccoli rabe. Try it....

I Wanna Be Adored - The Stone Roses

More to come.....