Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bob Dylan Nissa

This is a few pages long, so I'm going to post one page at a time:

Letters from America


I feel as though I am writing a giant postcard with my soul stamped on the corner addressed to a place across an ocean I once lived near, when I lived in California. The Pacific in my memory is light blue-green, violent and crashing and full of awe. I often saw the sea over long concrete piers with massive wooden pylons stretching out nearly to an island thirty miles distant, named Catalina, and in the long orange shadow cast by the sun I would put my hand over my eyes and squint, trying to see farther.
But now I am back on the Atlantic coast of the United States, in its greatest, most confusing, beautiful, and dynamic city, New York. I write to you from Brooklyn, on the southwestern tip of Long Island, surrounded by the deep blue swirling currents of another ocean, filled this time with clams, mussels and stone crabs with dark bluish almost black claws. In the summer we also eat tuna and swordfish, and occasionally mahi-mahi. The greatest delights, though, may be the lobsters that are migrating up to the colder waters of the state of my birth, Maine.

Enta tells me that the English language is a great sea to him, and that English words are planks floating in the sea. He reaches for them as he writes to me, and some are good, sturdy boards, and keep him afloat. Others, unfortunately, are rotten and disintegrate in his clutching fingers, and he’s left with a mouthful of water and misunderstanding.

With all this driftwood
floating in the Pacific
it seems only natural
to assemble a bridge
with wet tools

I want to write of my experience of July 11th, 2009. On that Saturday the American musician Bob Dylan performed in Eastlake, Ohio, outside of Cleveland, at Classic Ball Park, a stadium for a minor league baseball team. That morning the clouds rolled in off the tree-lined shores of the Great Lake Erie, bringing magnificent buckets of rain suddenly and irrevocably. I was marooned under the canopy of a restaurant with my friends Liz and John for two hours as we waited for the downpour to let up. The sky was thick and gray. Just across from where I was standing a farmer’s market had been interrupted. Most of the stands packed up and left at first sight of rain, but one, an Amish family, stayed:

The wind whips at the white tent
turning land’s shelter
into a soaking ship’s sail
A bonneted woman
fusses her potato baskets

There was only a little thunder, but all the dogs I saw were crouched huddled low in fear of storms. I was afraid the rain would not stop, and the concert that evening would not happen. But, as now, in Brooklyn, looking out the window of my first floor apartment on St. John’s Place, the sky quickly shone blue and sun streamed in great sheeting rays to dry up the grass again. Today the weatherman told us that Brooklyn would get thunderstorms all afternoon, and gusts of wind. But we live on an island, and weather changes quickly. Just as the thunder never came full force in Cleveland, it has not quite arrived here.

1 comment:

Hanna Maz said...

I'm really excited to read more of Cleveland from your perspective! Also that's a really artsy picture of Classic Park. You should see it when it's in full little league swing (haha, puns), gotta love those lake county captains!