Friday, July 24, 2009

Bob Dylan Nissa pt. 2

In many ways I don’t feel as though I have yet left Cleveland, and thus that I have not yet returned to Brooklyn. I cannot say just where I am, only three days after my flight back into New York. But walking north on Washington Avenue yesterday, in the Brooklyn neighborhood called Prospect Heights, I came down a hill. I had forgotten the view from this hill, how it overlooks just the tops of some of the skyscrapers of Manhattan’s skyline. The most prominent is the Chrysler building. It has a tapering graceful top with bright glints of rainbow-shaped metal (said to be made of chrome and steel from old Chrysler hubcaps!) sharply reflective in the sun. The summer sun was bright that day, so the metal stabbed at my eyes and I had to look away.

I tilted my head downward, to the level of the smaller warehouses and buildings in my sight’s foreground, and just over the drab tarred over cheap shingle, black and absorbing light, I saw a sudden group of pigeons in flight.

A wheel of pigeons
flashing against the blue
quartz flecks in sapphire
wheeling forward
then banking back in the breeze.

My thoughts were not yet still, not yet settled, from my latest airplane trip home. I had distracted myself on the flight with a wonderful conversation with a fellow passenger. But in distracting myself away from the transition between two places it felt as though I had forgotten to get back here to Brooklyn. Maybe it is only natural to have the place where you have been, its experiences, if they were powerful and moving (as mine were), fresh and lively in your mind as you look around and absorb new experiences in the familiar places of one’s home. I cannot say. I grew up a wanderer, my family lived many places, so “home” has always been in flux for me. I think perhaps this makes my home either very big or very small—

“Tell me the best part of New York.”
“The best part? To me?“
“Nobody belongs here.”
“Me too!”

Because my mind wanders in the sun and air and water, spinning forth through time, around and bending, trapezing itself in all directions, and because weather changes quickly, I would like to pause to tell of the amazing specter that is Bob Dylan, before the thunderclouds gather again.


The storm has still not come. Only a little rain. I watch my thoughts and sit outside in the spaced-out droplets. The songbirds belt out screeches and cheeps and swoop over my head, crashing the suspended wave of stillness that is the air. It is nearly feeding time for them—4 PM in Brooklyn; 5 AM the next day in Tokyo—and their song sounds almost peckish, hungry.

Trickling gray and swollen
this afternoon is God’s constipation
I move a leaf
and the snail
retracts in its shell

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