Waiting for Eden

She’d heard the stories about when they’d brought him in. The rush to the roof, his helicopter landing, and how close to death he’d always been. Between shifts, the older docs and nurses spoke quietly about the guy up on the fourth floor burned so bad it was a miracle he’d survived. They always talked about him quickly, in murmurs over their coffee or standing close to each other in an elevator. What they’d say was always the same: worst wounded guy in both wars, don’t know if I’d want to live like that, and just a matter of time. They all said that one: a matter of time…

His skin, already see-through with burns, didn’t sweat, it couldn’t. Instead it shone, the fever trapped inside…His body seized and then did a sort of whip-crack, struggling for breath even as he gasped…She climbed up on his bed and leaned in, not touching his burns but so close that her smell would linger around him. Before, when they would be in bed together, she’d often wake when he’d bury his face deep into the nape of her neck, covering himself in her dark hair to what she worried was the point of suffocation. One of the first things he ever told her was that he liked her perfume, but she never wore any. Her smell was of soap and water.

~ Elliot Ackerman, excerpts from Waiting for Eden: A Novel (September, 2018)


Notes: A mere 192 pages, but a story that will be seared into memory.  A National Book Award Finalist. An Amazon Book of the Month in October, 2018.  A book that reminded me of The Sea Inside and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.  A NY Book Review by Anthony Swofford captures it beautifully: “To identify this book as a novel seems inadequate: ‘Waiting for Eden’ is a sculpture chiseled from the rarest slab of life experience. The sculptor’s tools are extreme psychological interrogation and clear artistic vision.”

Saturday Morning

eric-rose-portrait-freckles

Fragile as ash
a memory stirs
and the past comes back. […]

a single breath
can make it
crackle and burn.

~ Gary Catalano, “Breath,” Slow Tennis: Poems 1980-83

 


Notes: Poem – Memory’s Landscape. Catalano was an Australian poet and art critic. Photo: Eric Rose.

Burning the Old Year

portrait-mirror-behind

letters swallow themselves in seconds.
notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

so much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.

where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
i begin again with the smallest numbers.

quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things i didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.

– Naomi Shihab Nye, “Burning the Old Year” from Words Under Words: Selected Poems


Notes:

Burning the Old Year

burning-letter-love-new-year

letters swallow themselves in seconds.
notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.

so much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.

where there was something and suddenly isn’t,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
i begin again with the smallest numbers.

quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things i didn’t do
crackle after the blazing dies.

– Naomi Shihab Nye, “Burning the Old Year” from Words Under Words: Selected Poems


Notes:

Saturday Morning: Heal

balloons-sleep-rise
You will burn
and you will burn out;
you will be healed
and come back again.

~ Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov


Quote: Mme Scherzo. Image: Trevillion Images (@ Katerina Lomonosov) via Distantpassion

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