It’s been a long day


The odd little magpie of the mind.
Nothing is finally finished, then?
The past emerges and re-emerges.
It builds its random nest in the oddest places.

~ Colum McCann, Thirteen Ways of Looking


Riding Metro North.  With a Legend.


Wednesday.  5:07 am to Grand Central.

I lift my briefcase to store it on the overhead rack and I jam my Oxford into the steel girder under the seat. I look down to assess the damage.  A thin sheaf of leather dangles from the toe cap.  Expensive miss. Damn it!

I take my seat. I wiggle the toes on my right foot triggering a flashback. A tumble back, way back.

I was 14.

The ice rink. It was a Campbell Soup can without the label, rough cut vertically, flipped on its side and dropped on frozen dirt.  No insulation.

Fans, mostly parents, sat huddled on one of three wooden benches that circled the rink, standing to stomp their feet and slap their mitts to keep the blood moving. It was cold, always cold.

An oxidized chain link fence protected the fans from the pucks.  Players did not have face masks. It was skin to fence. No, better stated, face to fence. Cage matches before cages were a WWF sport. [Read more…]

Saturday Morning (that hopeful sounding on the roof)


It’s raining this morning.
That hopeful sounding on the roof.
I can almost hear the roots
suck water through their fragile hairs,
raising it through the tough trunk
into the cloud-shaped canopy of the live oak […]

Can’t you remember being a child,
opening your mouth to the rain?

— Ellen Bass, “Sometimes I’m frightened

Sources: Photo by t does wool– “walking between the raindrops.’ Poem – Memory’s Landscape

I will remember this


“…This is what I wait for. Gray light before the sun rises. Waking up at the lake. Musty smoke from a campfire thick in your hair, on your skin, shaken from your sweater. Earth under your fingers. Green things growing. The sound of blueberry pancakes sizzling, crackling in a buttered skillet. Laughter, when you are incandescently happy. Finding a relic. Freckles. Grilled peaches and sweet corn and watermelon juices running down your skin. Light falling through tress on a pathway empty of anyone but you. Hearing the waves. Waking to a quiet house. Coffee stains. Lipstick marks on a cup. Your spot. Being recognized. Shadows. Alignment, like stars, alignment like sacred. Wonder and thinking you are something bigger and I don’t know, that somehow it will be alright. Being okay. Eating all the raspberries from the patch and going through the day with red fingers. Belief an iron rod in your spine. Someone’s touch on your hand, a someone who might be more than an anybody, a someone who might be a somebody, who might be yours. Beginnings. Not endings. Maybe endings sometime. Words like honeysuckle and diaphanous. Smells stirring a memory deep in your mind like a stick in thick muddy banks, stirring up the water. Mud under your toes and you are five. Clear water. Green water. Blue water. Gray water more light than liquid. Sitting on the front of the boat and closing your eyes to the spray on sunburnt skin. A perfect song. An imperfect memory. Fragments. Muscles and sinews. Hearing someone hum. Watching a time happen and thinking, I will remember this.”

~ Hannah Nicole, A List of Soft Things

Photo: Angela Lindvall by Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott for Pop f/w 2002 via Mennyfox55



Sometimes all you have to do is open a jar. The smell of Noxzema takes me back to the summer of 1957, and the front seat of the old Hudson my boyfriend drove, and how we parked at the Amagansett beach at night and made out like crazy, and afterward I was afraid I was pregnant, even though we didn’t do anything but kiss. The fear and the pleasure are as fresh to me every time I smell the stuff, and I keep a jar around so I can remember being young.

~ Abigail Thomas, Thinking About Memoir

Image: gabysbeautyblog


Saturday Matinee

The movies on allowance day.

Queues winding round corners, making the feast inside even more fantastic because access to it was so difficult. I no longer remember everything I saw, but the emotions, the excitement, the smell are still vivid. The sound of a bell, the light slowly dimming. Eyes tight shut, the more so for the hands pressed against them; and when finally you looked again, the miracle was already there on the screen. The pictures, the flight from reality, the world of dreams: experiences and people I believed would become part of my everyday life in the future. Tragedies so great that there was still a lump in the throat many hours later. Wonders so great that my feet did not touch the ground all the way home.

~ Liv Ullman, Changing (Knopf, 1976)


Lightly child, lightly


Knot by knot I untie myself from the past
And let it rise away from me like a balloon.
What a small thing it becomes.
What a bright tweak at the vanishing point, blue on blue.

– Charles Wright, from “Arkansas Traveller” in The Other Side of the River


  • Image Source: Michael Surtees (Looking forward from Empire State Building)
  • Poem Source: Lit Verve
  • Prior “Lightly child, lightly” Posts? Connect here.
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

And all that was leading me where?


I could never turn back
any more than a record
can spin in reverse.
And all that was leading me where?

To this very moment…

— Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

Notes: Photo – Poem: Fables of the Reconstruction

We exist together in a little patch of warmth and light


To curl up with children and a good book has long been one of the great civilizing practices of domestic life, an almost magical means of cultivating warm fellow feeling, shared in-jokes and a common cultural understanding. Harvard professor Maria Tatar has written of its origins in medieval fireside storytelling, “before print and electronic media supplied nighttime entertainments.”

Certainly in the modern era there is something quaint about a grown-up and a child or two sitting in a silence broken only by the sound of a single human voice. Yet how cozy, how impossibly lovely it is! Unlike tech devices, which atomize the family by drawing each member into his own virtual reality, great stories pull people of different ages toward one another, emotionally and physically. When my children were small, I would often read with my eldest daughter tucked in by my side, the boy draped like a panther half across my shoulders and half across the back of the sofa, a tiny daughter on either knee, and the baby in my lap. If we happened to be on one of our cycles through “Treasure Island,” Robert Louis Stevenson’s swashbuckling classic, my husband would come to listen, too, and stretch out on the floor in his suit and tie and shush the children when they started to act out the exciting bits.

“We let down our guard when someone we love is reading us a story,” Ms. DiCamillo says. “We exist together in a little patch of warmth and light.”

~ Meghan Cox Gurdon, The Great Gift of Reading Aloud

Saturday Afternoons. In Memorata.


Eric, our 21 year old Son, joins Zeke and me on the bed. He’s texting. I’m reading. Zeke’s napping, his paw twitches. The TV buzzes in the background.

Kanigan Men, never have much to say to each other. Yet, he did come in, and sit with his Dad and his Dog. As Heithaus would say in ‘Insides’: …Between words – white space and breath, the air moving without sound…all the fecund stuff inside us that finds thought and voice and sound.’

Eric continues texting.

New York Times: Screen Addiction is Taking a Toll on Children: “Texting looms as the next national epidemic, with half of teenagers sending 50 or more text messages a day and those aged 13 through 17 averaging 3,364 texts a month.”

Eric pauses from texting to look out the second floor window and down the street. Three houses down, a neighbor is playing catch with his five year old son. 15 years ago, that would have been Eric and me. On the street, in the hot mid-day sun in Miami. I can hear the ‘clop’ of the ball hitting his mitt. His cheeks are flushed. His hair matted and wet. Wonder if this scene is taking him back? [Read more…]