not so much left

februarie 8, 2012

The Word

 Down near the bottom
 of the crossed-out list
 of things you have to do today,

 between „green thread”
 and „broccoli” you find
 that you have penciled „sunlight.”

 Resting on the page, the word
 is as beautiful, it touches you
 as if you had a friend

 and sunlight were a present
 he had sent you from some place distant
 as this morning – to cheer you up,

 and to remind you that,
 among your duties, pleasure
 is a thing,

 that also needs accomplishing
 Do you remember?
 that time and light are kinds

 of love, and love
 is no less practical
 than a coffee grinder

 or a safe spare tire?
 Tomorrow you may be utterly
 without a clue

 but today you get a telegram,
 from the heart in exile
 proclaiming that the kingdom

 still exists,
 the king and queen alive,
 still speaking to their children,

 – to any one among them
 who can find the time,
 to sit out in the sun and listen.

– Tony Hoagland<a

Reclame

the year of living.

februarie 2, 2012

WHAT THE LIVING DO
by Marie Howe

Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days, some utensil probably fell down there.
And the Drano won’t work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes have piled up

waiting for the plumber I still haven’t called. This is the everyday we spoke of.
It’s winter again: the sky’s a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight pours through

the open living-room windows because the heat’s on too high in here and I can’t turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, the bag breaking,

I’ve been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my wrist and sleeve,

I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.
Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called that yearning.

What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss–we want more and more and then more of it.

But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I’m gripped by a cherishing so deep

for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I’m speechless:
I am living. I remember you.


and rain falls on us

iulie 22, 2011

it’s been crazy hot for probably one full week now. it doesn’t look too impressive when you just seew the official temperature – but when you factor in the humidity…oh boy. i’d say generally over 25 is already hard to bear („feels like” at least low 30s). today we had 34, feels like 45. just for the users of the other system: 34 is 93F, so there. i got a tan within 3 days, jusat from going to work in the morning (by metro and bus) and back in the afternoon, i.e. 15-20 minutes of exposure.

i’ve been sleeping little and at crazy times lately, partly the heat partly just painting tables/swapping lifestories/writing to the landlords with the roomie. last night culminated in me being woken up at 3 am by an animal (racoon? i guess) in the garbage below my window, and not being able to sleep again because of the heat. so today after my shift was done i simply collapsed…uh, almost. i can’t stand the AC, but even with just the fan on i feel i can’t breathe properly. a painful but necessary 2 hour nap. afterwards, around 10 pm, we were in the kitchen spraying ourselves with the water spritzer for the plants. drinking smoothies with big ice cubes. and then the rain started.

(off topic): last night i went with a friend to see the fireworks from the jacques cartier bridge. there are certain things that every self-respecting montrealais „should” do in the summertime – fireworks is one. others are maybe one jazz festival night, one „juste pour rire”, an ethnic festival on jean drapeau, la ronde, picnic in the park, going off to a lake, … so i was feeling righteous, i.e. look, i can cross this thing off my summer list.

and then this other thing happens that just explodes my list altogether. rain. summer rain in the dark, and no one to frown on us for going out to dance in it. a celebration. its own festival. we ran, in flip-flops and cotton dress, skirt and top, under the pouring relief. the anarchists across the street were out too, shirtless. our neighbour isabelle was on her balcony: she came and joined us just enough to get all wet, and for a happy hug. then we walked towards laurier, through the ruelles. occasional people cheering from their balconies. it was so cheerful and liberating and the most natural thing in the world. then the rain stopped all of a sudden, and now it’s almost as hot as before.


uh, update

mai 25, 2011

two of my main concerns lately: i can`t get back to writing `properly` – mmm, literarily; and i can`t really blog i.e. say what is going on, even if i want to. so out of these combined, resulted a hybrid that`s sort of a semi-poem. i shrug and post it:

end of may 2011 –

here`s the poem i owe you/ i thought about rhyming, but it’s more important/to get it out any old way: /to each, their own priorities.

it’s rainy, still raining; my cherry red/rubber boots march past armies of tulips/no time to go swimming at the local pool/i compensate by walking lots, and eat my vegetables.

my new room faces north, a backyard/of spiralled stairs. far from the metro/but it’s big, cheap, the roommate is tidy. /i furnished it all from the streets.

i haven’t been to parc jarry lately/some lost things glow in my head like dead stars/i took up coffee again – at 8 a.m./i sip my first cup in the kitchen/ working hard on not feeling guilty.

there.


…so what happened was…

martie 8, 2011

no, you’re not getting the break-up story here, sorry. it’s a one-on-one exclusive. i know it’s me – carmen (eyeroll) – so i’m supposed to be blabbing about the sacredest stuff, mais quand même! instead i can tell you about the funny things that happened after.

i am trying to get the things right this time. (and because of this, i’m sometimes remembering all the other times or non-times with rage. so many wasted years because of no closure.) it’s still incredible for me how guilty i feel of my own unhappiness, to the extent where i feel compelled to report it to the entire world. after 2 weeks, it reached facebook status status. so things can only calm down from here on.

but i did the right things, and the cliche things. i talked to friends who are chat/skype/phone-accessible, i asked for and received good advice. that helped, just being fascinated again by how complex relationship things are. i am still acting a bit detached, as if it’s an experiment in recovery.

i drank a bottle of wine alone in the dark one night, ate a whole icecream container another night (ah, while watching ‘american idol’, forgot to mention). the only thing i didn’t feel like doing much was buying stuff. or getting out of the house. which is also not entirely abnormal if you consider my paycheck or the weather lately. so the official version is that i’m…dealing with it.

now about this dealing: i just want to know when it’s going to be over. i want to make a list, a plan of action, to set deadlines. i mean that is what i did. i was so feverish and irritated the first 2-3 days after: waste of time, i kept mumbling to myself. this is what these days/weeks/months are.

they say i have to say hi to the cute guy at the bus stop. butt into someone’s peaceful reading at the library. attend social events. activate my network. yeah, when it feels alright to do that, i will. i don’t think i’m passing up opportunities that were designed for me. i don’t want to be desperate. i want to be ok on my own.

there was a suicide on the metro line last week – i wasn’t on the metro that hit the person, but my roommate was. she was pretty shaken. i was just annoyed about the metro being blocked, although when you hear „un accident sur la ligne orange cause une interruption de service” as opposed to ralentissement du service, you kind of know what it means. but i didn’t let myself think of it until cynthia told me.

and it’s the cold, the too-late cold that gets into the bones to the core.

also, i returned home last night and because it was freezing indoors and sinister i was planning to cook with the radio on. i looked for my headphones to hook up my cellphone and i realized that d. had taken them by mistake and left his own, which i have no use for. i can’t explain better, but the impossibility of playing top40 music and hearing distinct québécois voices RIGHT THAT INSTANT was a pretty big hit to my mood. the silence was so creepy and absurd – then i realized why. cynthia’s perruche was dead, stiff on the bottom of his cage.

we don’t know how he died. sudden heart attack is one version. i panicked a bit and called cyn…then i packed the body and took it out. somehow i fell asleep reading feministe. in the morning the snow was covering a quarter of my tall window, and kept coming down with the blizzard. i sat down at the table with coffee in the birdless livingroom. 7 am. and i had a good cry.

now it`s all going to be better.


gimme sympathy

ianuarie 24, 2011

this whole year started with semi-nostalgia and  retold stories, or continued from thereon. the story of this song is (facebook got me started!!!! sorry!!): i was listening to it last summer. last summer i was taking the metro ‘direction montmorency’ with my hair still wet in a scarf, with the afternoon already tapering into evening, humming „come on baby play me something/like here comes the sun”. that’s all the lyrics i knew of it, except for the beatles and the rolling stones part.  i thought the song was called „here comes the sun”. and then d. laughed at me because he says metric is a hipster band and because at one point she sings „seriously”, which i hadn’t noticed, although „seriously” is one of my most noticeable verbal tics.

today is one of the coldest days so far, like -23, feels like -30ish because of the wind. still, the sun was brilliant. i just went out for groceries and my face froze. so. quickly. and in my headphones, on the radio? here comes the sun. seriously… and i’m thinking overthinking until my brain chokes on it.

i wanted to start a new blog, or at least revamp this one, because i don’t necessarily feel like writing to the world in general about how i’m cooking marinated chicken and baked rice, and how i’m agonizing over the decision of taking russian classes and how i must get to quebec city soon! and to goddamn toronto. or other things that i don’t want to write about anyway. so i planned something a tad more impersonal (or less immediately personal): my travelogue/ cultural gap anecdotes collection. i would call it „planet awkward”, after an idea my friend lora and i had 2 years + ago.

but then, oh then:

i miss my old friends.

i want them to still love me and i need their good opinion and i insanely want to be able and spend 1000$ on a ticket just to sit down with them in a cafe or teahouse. (flowers. aux anges. bulgakov. zorki. show me the new ones. i’ll take you to le general. or even better, at your place. cause i don’t have one.) and ask them to just…tell me. everything they can.

i’ve been stupid to think i could make it work. i’m stupid like this every time i leave a place. every time i am left behind and i’m left clinging. i never forget though. i don’t know what i did. but today i just want you YOU  to say it’s alright. (basically say i’m alright, but you know it.)

my old friends from back-in-the-old-country are the reason this blog exists in the first place and why at some points i kept trying. i’m wondering at which point letting go is the sane option, and probably just being afraid that nothing good can start from scratch again. i want all of my life to be real, and meant.

 

 


christmas things

decembrie 30, 2010

there are the enormous spheres at place des arts. with music around them, no joke. my own photos are a bit better than this one, but far from conveying the joy of it.

there are the lights at berri-uqam, placed in sort-of-buckets in the snow, in rows. you can light them by walking between the buckets, you can light them by pedalling on one of the bixi bikes there. this is the surest funnest way of getting feeling back into your feet after a 15′ walk downtown.

uh, there were the fireworks in the vieux port, which we missed, but i’m going to try to pass by on new year’s, depending on whatever else happens.

and christmas in the park! a small park by st-joseph/st laurent, by the church. there was a fire, mulled wine in a kiosk, a big swing, and there were sheep in a …sheep shelter thing. and hip-hop quebecois. it felt a bit weird, but yes warm and strangely touching. but that’s me: the balance of loneliness and togetherness is totally out of whack for me these days.