8.12.15--

Paris, or, the Sadness of TransAtlantic Flight: 

1. The ways in which the city itself is constructed is both beautiful and heartening--commerce with leisure with art with impossibly lovely parks all of which seem to slip into the next.

2. No kidding "le flaneur" was conceived in Paris--one can walk there for miles every day and so many people travel by bike and public transport. While in the city you feel more of the city than anywhere I've thus far experienced in the United States. 

3. Brunch doesn't seem to be a concept. Well played, France! (And what a sad and sort of awful concept that we only have an hour for frantic leisure (can there be such a thing?) on Sunday mornings and then back to back to back to work work work.) 

4. A city of rivers is a beautiful thing, for a bridge is a structural invitation to both viewing and reflecting. 

5. The food I ate was lovely--not just in the restaurants but the fruit and cheeses from little corner stores--we should be ashamed of the fact that we sell things like ONLY chips and frozen foods and sad lonely bananas and pretend pasta like Chef Boyardee. And we wonder why we're soft and unhappy and the poor are unhappy and even more alienated from pleasure and life. The pleasure one can take from a peach or a plum purchased from around the way for mere cents is a thing of beauty that can lighten a body and soul. The frozen pizza rolls we find everywhere in the United States are simply meant to feed the aftermath of the drunkenness with which we feel we must sometimes engage because we don't even believe in the softness of a peach against the lips or a life in which simple and beautiful things SHOULD be available to all because that's how we find happiness. 

6. While I enjoyed some of the worlds best macarons, it turns out I'm more an ice-cream at Berthilon sort of woman. 

7. When you pass a man playing Chopin on a piano on a bridge, you MUST stop and let your heart, if not your body, dance for a while. And then it is wise and good to put coins in the jar to say thank you for the lightness and happiness he sent as far as the notes could carry. 

8. Shaved 24 month aged Serrano ham and a bowl of strawberries purchased for about $9 dollars is a beautiful meal--simple and decadent. 

9. Paris seems to be a place in which one can, through walking, enjoy the pleasure of one's own company.

10. I suspect we all should live there.  

 

(And truly, mostly Paris is like any other city in terms of smells, but the two tunnels I walked through smelled and the question was "Urine or Nag Champa?" And the answer was "Urine?" but it was hilariously unsettling to realize how close the two really were. Whoa.)

8.6.15--Paris related "dad" jokes thus far:

Oh, I totally know why the French are supposedly thin: they don't eat off smaller plates, exactly, but they DO eat of smaller tables--a table for two can barely fit two water glasses much less two dinner plates! 

On the prevalence of aerosolized facial spray and the scarcity of air conditioning: The French are all like, "well, we don't have air conditioning, but we do have this great can of water we keep in the fridge!" 

7.24.15--

Tangled Up in California

Walking in the city (Should we make a left, Michel? Should we? If you’ll follow, I’ll do it. Let’s get texual.) Berkeley at twenty and every grocery store might be that Supermarket so I’m looking for angels in the skins of watermelons, feeling up peaches and cantaloupes, looking for answers underground—cornered Henry Miller last night and it was Sexus in the stacks. 

Maybe it should have been Madrid— someplace that has no spaces which need to be written into existence.

silently agree we’ll try for more tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow because the plains are vast and Madrid, well, Madrid will always be shimmering.

7.22.15--

"Honeychild, sugarplum, babydoll, darling"--

Lyle's letters to Delores 
(WWII transforming longing from "when we're married" to "please wait and if I don't die")
making the future Sam Cooke jealous as hell. 

Grandpa, reading your letters while stretched and sweaty on a summer lawn chair, a monarch and a goldfinch are perched on the fence, talking about the impermanence of seasons and how space and migration "isn't such  big deal." 

And after reading the 1944 you, I, too, write to compress time and space, for when else but summer for magical thinking? In winter dreams are hunkered down under blankets and next to fires but in summer even nightingales take flight and live on. 

Grandpa, I don't think letters can work the same magic anymore--how can paper and ink invite the beloved to sit close, sit right here, to elide distance and time when we've got electrical currents instant and ephemeral? 

But nonetheless, because of you, Grandpa--your earnestness and imperfect spelling--
and your hundreds and hundreds of letters, filled with longing and the longest of long distance love, 

I've picked out the prettiest paper. Used my best pen. Opened my sweetest vein. Licked the envelope shut and sent it out into the world.