Though we missed most of the New Zealand International Film Festival because of our trip to Maine, we did catch Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War on closing night. I loved it even more than Ida (every shot in both is composed like a photograph I’d want to spend time in front of at a museum) because of the music. Highly recommend you see these in a theater if you can!
by Billy Collins
This morning as I walked along the lake shore,
I fell in love with a wren
and later in the day with a mouse
the cat had dropped under the dining room table.
In the shadows of an autumn evening,
I fell for a seamstress
still at her machine in the tailor’s window,
and later for a bowl of broth,
steam rising like smoke from a naval battle.
This is the best kind of love, I thought,
without recompense, without gifts,
or unkind words, without suspicion,
or silence on the telephone.
The love of the chestnut,
the jazz cap and one hand on the wheel.
No lust, no slam of the door—
the love of the miniature orange tree,
the clean white shirt, the hot evening shower,
the highway that cuts across Florida.
No waiting, no huffiness, or rancor—
just a twinge every now and then
for the wren who had built her nest
on a low branch overhanging the water
and for the dead mouse,
still dressed in its light brown suit.
But my heart is always propped up
in a field on its tripod,
ready for the next arrow.
After I carried the mouse by the tail
to a pile of leaves in the woods,
I found myself standing at the bathroom sink
gazing down affectionately at the soap,
so patient and soluble,
so at home in its pale green soap dish.
I could feel myself falling again
as I felt its turning in my wet hands
and caught the scent of lavender and stone.
The paradoxical thing about monogamy, for me at least, is that it took someone who doesn’t insist upon it to inspire me to live it so willingly.
Read on for two poems (one that speaks to the inevitably-ephemeral nature of relationships, and one that speaks to the phenomenon I described above), the story about how Scott and I came to find ourselves in a relationship the second time around, and a bit of Wendell Berry’s ever-inspiring wisdom. Continue reading
Every time Scott puts Wild Nothing on:
As it turned out, neither of us ended up going to that show. We did meet in person to see Zakir Hussein at SF Jazz Center the following weekend, easily one of the best dates, much less first dates, I’d ever been on…
…but it was too late. I ignored his texts for a couple days. My stomach knotted with the decision I’d been mulling over, I called to tell him I had chosen to focus my energy into a different (also brand new) relationship.
There’s much more to say, of course, about all the things that happened between then and now. But this afternoon we’re checking out the visuals from that Bombay Bicycle Club tour and trying to figure out the best way to get the album box set to our home in New Zealand.
For most of the decade from 2007-2017, I lived in West Marin. Bolinas was home for most of that time but I also spent a lot of time in Point Reyes Station (where I rented office space for a couple of years). These small towns are nestled amongst some of the most beautiful places I have ever laid eyes upon, much less had the privilege of living in.
West Marin’s relatively small population presented (and still presents, I assume?) some challenges in the realm of intimate relationships. Though serial monogamy seemed to be the norm, it wasn’t the only relationship structure practiced within in this constellation of towns. We dated one or more of our neighbors; we became exclusive and shacked up for a spell; we broke up, moved away, and/or moved on to new partners… and not always in that order.
I found this video sometime in March or April and I’ve been meaning to post it since then, though there’s so much more about it that hits home now:
So many reasons to love someone; so many people to love for specific, incomplete reasons; so much hair-pulling over whether or not the “right person” (if there even is one) can ever meet all expectations; the combination of fear and relief inherent in choosing to extract oneself from that binary way of thinking; and wide-eyed wonder at the paradoxical experience of feeling simultaneously so free and so committed.
But mostly it delights me that my Dancing, Philosophy model human (see 0.33-0.36 in the video) doesn’t come in a box, that he doesn’t have an off button, and that he is moving with me to New Zealand.
This song is everything I need right now:
As a words person, I’m frantically trying to learn the language it takes to describe the sonic landscapes that are really doing it for me these days, and thanks to everyone who’s been patient with me in trying to get more of it into my system (Evan Scott Matt and for the Flume tip, Samyak)!
It’s got all the swelling instrumentation, sweet layered vocals, and slow-attack bass of this:
…but with far more appropriate lyrics for my current state of mind: that strange sort of “anticipated grief” or pre-nostalgia that comes on the verge of a purposeful decision that’s going to change a Whole Lot all at once. [I’ve written previously about the related feelings that come after the shift.]
Plus a healthy dose of the same overall feeling — that I love, by the way — of Continue reading
I’m going to see Andrew Bird tomorrow night, so I’m trying to catch up on his latest… but since discovering this duet I’ve barely been able to focus on anything else. What a spot-on depiction of That sort of conversation, gah!
The whole album (what I’ve made it through so far, at least) is stabbing me between the ribs in that Andrew-Bird-is-a-fucking-genius, “how does he KNOW this is perfect?!” kind of way Continue reading
Yesterday Dean let me know that Stanley, a long-ago friend of mine that he was still close to, has passed.
Each time I hear news like this, I remember my other since-departed friends from that era of my life, their number growing with the number of years since I have been in touch with any of them. And so today I think of Jose and Micah in addition to Stanley.
[All photographs (c) Dean Fidelman]