Thursday, February 21, 2013

in the calm before

maybe '13 is gonna be like '69, '78, '97it's gonna blow out there! that's how the real old timers talk when a blizzard's coming. the new old timers on the news concur. they're reading the maps, the models and the almanacs, the tea leaves and the crystal balls. once they stop peering, straining their eyes, they offer up a prediction. they tell us to stay home. don't move.

in '78 i broke the law. i didn't stay home, didn't hunker down. classes canceled, i drove my vw to maine after the governor of massachusetts declared a driving ban. the worst was over but the snow kept coming. when i stopped at forbidden intersections and inched forward past towering man-made mountains of white powder on my way to the interstate, i imagined the scream of police sirens, but there was no one out there to catch me. not a soul.

put away the devices of our own devising. cameras, cell phones, laptops won't help us now. wind remakes shorelines, alters the course of rivers, wipes fishing ports off the charts. while the waters rise, networks succumb, bullets fly, people wash laundry, children grow. life separates, split by commas, into one thing after another.

in the calm before, we say we wish this day would never end. please don't let it end. the way the light bends through the smudged window and the snow sticks in the tall pines and the dog turns circles in her bed before she settles, and you, you drink a cup of coffee that's already getting cold.

the way that it is heartbreaking. we want to gather it up and press it, amber-like: small pieces suspended, preserved for a million years, an adornment, a crucible of illumination, tawny blare slashing through it, slashing through us. we edge around corners becoming the apparatus of our own survival, don't you see?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

after bramhall

a renegade light begins to undo the grip of the dark, rubs the sleep out of air that is becoming wicked, wicked. fierce wind gusts from the west and abuses the swaddled walkers and joggers who brave frigid temperatures as they cut through the remaining gloom.

(but spring can't be too far away because lee in virginia says she saw a huge flock of robins on a lawn; they must have been storing up calories for fly north fast, birdies.)

arms paddling, various sized backsides swaying or bobbing up and down, some of these people wear vests over their layers with neon yellow markings and happy little lights that blink away what's left of the night.

my feet and i, we're bad, very bad—we take the coward's way out. we retreat indoors—sissies!—away from the cold and into a snug little room downstairs. flip a switch, hear it whir, watch the tiny orange lights flicker and light up the console, the machine coming to life.

i climb aboard.

stride after stride, lap after lap, mile after mile, my breath in rhythm with my molecules as they spin and loop in an unrestrained aerobic dance. it feels good, this breathing room, where all of me is living in air.