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Hoodies

What is the delight of hoodies?

I recall my first impulse to have one – in the bookstore at the beginning of college.

The one I ended up with from that time though, thanks to Kathleen Davenport, my impatient friend with a triple major, instead advertises the humble modern dance company affiliated with, but unnaming, that small college.

For years I have been quietly and defiantly counter-culture.

Quietly?

Yes, often quietly.

But I take delight when the hippies recognize me.

Substance [from some months ago]

Dear Aunt Pat,

I wish we could find a shared setting for a few days so that we could talk about the great discoveries, the fireworks of life with unbridled enthusiasm; but that we might also have time to discuss with curiosity the quiet truths of life, the substances that remain unshakeable that may be the greater priority, but who knows; and why do the gains and roars of life seem at odds sometimes with the stillness of observation. When the stillness is found it does then regain the same glory, no? It is going away from the thing to gain the thing.

Is this a love letter? Maybe. Is that strange? Probably. But who knows the distinguishing of anything, and what is the longing to connect? and is that love? and does it overlap into intimacy of sprawling descriptions and assumptions, and does it oblige to commitment and what is the story of it from me, the feminine me? toward females who communicate more thusly. And when I find the other version, I am refreshed with the unshakeable, earthen foundations of communicating with Uncle Bill, the hat I so often forget to put on – constancy versus the addiction of the wind.

What of this life? I do want to know from you. We share some things, and often I am the idiot poet.

There are funds to publish poetry on posters and put them up in scattered spots reserved for advertising on the subways of New York. Most often they would bring me joy and the sensation of pause in the more clamorous chambers of the city. There is one that was my favorite, and when it would appear I would work to memorize it.

I am an orchid
washed in on the salt
white beach.

Memory –
what can I make of you now that might please you –
this life, already wasted,
and still strewn with miracles.

And so my mind continues to bathe in poetic sensation, though its skin gets dangerously soft from absorbing and not quitting; and my mind is a tragic desert of liberal arts education, any specifics continuing to flee out its windows while striving for euphoric, experience-based systems and answers. And I am in school for the philosophy of action but there is no academia here. And that is because I believe in things so fully that I have a habit of believing they are absolute, and the only absolute of the world is the great menagerie of materials that are necessary for life to continue in a logic well beyond us. Adaptation and continuity and color.

And so we have to choose our systems, and I feel very far from that these days.

Tim

an account of introversion

She whispers her thinking in her head as she rocks, not attending to the fact that she is waiting for the moment when her thoughts’ waves will calm to just ripples and it will be self-evident that it is time to rise and go to bed.  There is permission in that moment for the undangerous hollow of sadness, permission that she does not need to give herself, but arrives unannounced as she stares at the wall or through the window or the tea, and then is with her.  And she falls into it for the infinite time of enough, until the waves, crashing, that she does not care to share, nor knows how to, have finally been seen and listened to and find their way to the settled lapping.  She has now drunk of the cup and it is time to rise and steadily get ready for bed.  The quiet will stay until morning.

mud and scotch

Billy –

The grown up jeans you bought me for Christmas are still splattered with the bright terra cotta mud of the flatter, rain-soaked passes of the Lycian Way, from the stretch above Kas before the giant hole in the ground catching water, and before the thicker underbrush which ends in the sudden revelation of the sea and that town below.  The next day I saved them and hiked up the preceding mountain in my sweatpants so that I could look more presentable for the 20-hour, 1-novel journey back to my bedroom in Brussels.
Also, I noticed in the little groceries in Turkey that though there seemed to not be a great deal of liquor available, there was always a prominent presence of Johnny Walker Red and Black.  It was all too expensive, so I left it on the shelf.  I was even more surprised when I rounded an aisle end and the only other scotch they had in a narrow display was Lagavulin.  Maybe we should just meet in Kas next year.
Or I’m thinking maybe we go find the distillery in Scotland.
Love you.
Timmy

walking on Turkish hills between Kas and Phellos

I thought of my walking friends Dan Huling​ and Ryan Filanda​ the last two days as I followed the red and white marks for lengths of the Lycian Way.  I thought of Brad Heck​ when I chose the outstanding rock to stand on at the thrill of the precipice and view, the bright white vapor passing from its currents below to up, around and past me. I stayed there too long, everything stopped in its complete grandeur, and so I ran back much of the way over the tripping rocks like a mountain goat. And so I thought of Michael Rahal and Mariel Lugosch-Ecker​, too.

When I got back to the mosque where the path leaves the road, there were even more men gathered than before and the smell of cigarettes passed through the open air. I found the shortcut back off the steep road, and the whole valley buzzed with February bees in the sun and flowering trees.

 

Thanks for coming with me friends.

thank you for the book

Mario,

I had the most unique of nights passing between yesterday evening and the entirety of this morning.  I sat in the company of friendly hosts drinking out of bottles sitting on rocks by water that had all of its clarity and saw a flying fish glide in the open air for the first time.  I boarded a bus and watched the sighing lavender fill the sky from pink and orange stripes behind the clouds that echoed three-fold the shape of the mountains.  Until it was out of sight.  And I dove into my book with shaking hands by the dim light of the large van.  I looked up and thought, “is it this easy for me to traverse the world?  that I may pack a bag of nuts and next time a bottle of water, be able to pronounce my destination and then travel in the company of foreigners with whom I cannot converse and trust the journey so plainly that I may be absorbed out of it into these pages?”  And within twenty hours I had traveled with three cargos of Turkish people, sat and slept in a row with the only queers on the plane, slumbered on my bags in the airport, sipped tea in the train station, ordered two rounds of pain de chocolat with earl grey at the small cafe, reacquainted myself with this kitchen filled with morning sun, stolen away to my bedroom, and read the entirety of Disgrace.  Thank you for it.

 

 

Tim

A Winter Walk

Dear Mom,

I went for a brisk walk today in the park near my house to get my heart rate up and get some of the day’s freshness into my face and lungs.  There was more sky once I cleared the buildings – a bright open sky filled with winter-early dusk that gave an exhilarating  clarity to the waning day.  I cut along paths of asphalt, gravel and mud or between them, over the top-frozen grass which shared edges with the deep umber forest floors.  There are occasionally old mansions with unsurprising urban graffiti and an old stadium.  It is hilly, which gives changing perspectives of the city and the trees, with passes near hushed ravines.  The soaring neon colors of the evolving sunset silhouetted all the leafless branches, my favorite image for years, and back at the top of the promenade I could see the Palais de Justice shimmering in the distance.

The parrots that nest at the northeast corner of the park were silent by the time I got back there, and the street lights were casting the trees’ shadows back towards where the sun was still singing its final symphony.

 

Timmy

Observations

Dear Sarah,

 

Some other things…

 

Because of the deep cobble-stone and high walls, the cars on the small street behind the Cathedral of Saints Michel and Gudule always sound closer than they are.

The cheapest cheeses from the French vendor at the Thursday afternoon market in Parvis St. Gilles are delicious.

The ride back from the organic market on Sundays on my single-speed, sit-straight bike is an uphill workout.

I talked with Mom and Wills about the difference between imagination and ideas, one of my favorite lessons so far from school.  The acknowledgement that there is a difference simply gave voice to something I think most of us know.  It doesn’t make finding, shaping and presenting imagination – the more dangerous, joyful and universal one of the two – easier.

I still haven’t been deeper into the forest.  The time I went back to the large park, Bois de la Cambre that is at the edge of the forest, it was more park-y and less forest-y than the first time.  When I looked for the forest on my bike, I ended up exiting the state of Brussels entirely and finding Flemish suburbs instead.

The locally famous beer bar a block and a half from my house is called Moder Lambic.

The castle at the top of the hill two blocks from my house is still a functioning prison.

My housemates are friendly people from France, Belgium and Brazil.  They are young and creative and searching for many of the same things we are in that inconclusive 21st century way.

I have learned why expats form communities – the comfort of reference is a specific and fulfilling one.

School is exciting, though it is the long road, and so the way to take it is to take it and to see where you are at each kilometer.

 

Where should I travel to?

 

Love you tons.

Talk soon,

Tim

 

 

The Last Hours of an Otherwise Sunny Day

There is that feeling at a party when you feel bolstered by the collective energy in the room.  There is no need or great temptation to connect deeply with anyone specifically, but you feel a bit king – electric and excited and uplifted.  Drinking helps, sure, but you have hit the right crest of a wave and there is greatness and satisfaction until the wave washes you happily, exhausted into shore.

There is that other gathering where the connections are intimate.  You may have one, perhaps three or four, encounters with people who work your heart into goodness, remind you of some substantive things of life, or quench a thirst you didn’t know you had in your thinking.  The people are good, you are humbled and grateful and your flesh is stronger after.

There is also a party where maybe you are the surly guy from Chicago, exotic from so far away, but awkward.  You can’t quite tell.  But if that’s how you came across, the note from the surly guy reads:  I came for the music.  I came because my friendly housemate invited me and I wanted to support.  I felt strong today, but now this is, for the moment… oh, now different… a gathering of music-hopeful, pot-smoking bachelors and I don’t speak the primary language here and I don’t want to burden you with the fact that I am irresponsible and did not learn the language and I didn’t even bring beer to share.  And I feel like a silent, grinning loser who is screaming on the inside.  I’m going to hide behind this little hand drum and hope that my musical inclination comes out to wow you, so we can all dazzle in it for a little.  So far it hasn’t, and I can’t find the beat and the more I don’t talk to you, the more I feel crumpling and socially poisonous.  Oh good, we found some beat, so now I look like I have any contribution to make.  I can have a purpose other than burden for a while.  But now that that is done, I think I will go.  Bye!  Thank you for having me!

An evening past

Over a glass of wine, standing dripping wet next to a bath of sadness, I found that I had taken the time I would have liked to finish the tartine at this sidewalk cafe.  And that I was thinking about velvet warmths of past romances.

Also, that perhaps books are good for loneliness.  They allow you to be guided through an unknown world, but not in front of everyone.

I stare, in my coat, and the wine is done.