10 July 2009 | |

i spent the july 4th weekend back at home in new york. i didn't realize i missed it until i arrived. everything about the city is so much more crowded, dirty, fast, diverse. it was a relaxing weekend spent with friends bbqing and talking. a lot of talking. the one thing i learned from the weekend is that things never change- and i guess that is comforting, knowing i can always return and things will be as i left them. but also seeing that things haven't changed made me realize that leaving was the best thing i ever did.

i rummaged through books i left in queens and found a book of poems by nick flynn that i read while at eugene lang. although i've read it before, it felt like i was reading the poems for the first time. here is one that particularly stayed with me. (as a preface, i should mention that his mother shot herself when he was young and it's something he explores in this book.)


I don't even know
how a telephone works, how your voice reached
all the way from Iron River, fed

across wires or satellites, transformed

& returned. I don't understand
the patience this takes, or anything
about the light-years between stars.

An hour ago
you cupped your hands in the tub & raised them up,
an offering of steam. Now

we're driving 66 mph
& one maple is coming up fast, on fire. I begin,
it's like those fireworks over

the East River, but it's not enough

to say this. By the time I find the words
it will already be past, rushing away as if falling

into a grave, drained
of electricity, the world between something is happening

& something happened. Think of an astronaut, big silver hands
& gravity boots, the effort spent

to keep from flying off into space. Think of

the first time your grandparents listened
to a phonograph, the needle falling to black

vinyl, a song without a body. Think of the names

you see on a map, think of these towns & rivers
before they were named, when "Liberty" & "New Hope"

were a large rock, a stand of birches. It's what 

I'm afraid of, the speed with which everything
is replaced, these trees, your smile, my mother
turning her back to me before work,
asking over her shoulder,
how does this look?

Nick Flynn, Some Ether