You can get there from here, though
there’s no going home.
Everywhere you go will be somewhere
you’ve never been.
“Teohare: to be suspended between two different places.
And yet it seems the remembered home home is not one home but clusters
Of otherwise and absence, reeling, and ever-changing. Nor is one single here.
How I the constantly crumbling yet still stands.
We pass south of the river. I count oak trees, birch trees, beech.”
–Laurie Sheck, “The Eleventh Remove”
To create a newer and better situation is–yes–liberating, but also potentially upsetting in the unfamiliarity it brings. C’est la vie. Laurie Sheck’s new book of poetry Captivity is some kind of godsend in that it captures this perfectly. If you’re feeling trapped in any way, this book deserves your attention.
As for me, I’m starting to feel that all the commotion of breaking out of my current life (i.e., packing and moving) is robbing me of what’s recently become dearest to me–writing time. I promise to get back on the full-blown, essay-style blogging wagon soon, but as you can see from the picture above, I’ve got my hands full at the moment.
Seven years ago, when I first arrived in the city–in the midst of the same type of huge transition I’m diving into now–I was lucky enough to see the poet Robert Hass read at a special event. It was one of those memorable nights when I just couldn’t believe that I was really in the sparkling city of San Francisco–and in the presence of literary greatness to boot. Praise is one of my favorite of the poet’s collections. It begins:
“We asked the captain what course
of action he proposed to take
toward a beast so large, terrifying, and
unpredictable. He hesitated to
answer, and then said judiciously:
‘I think I shall praise it.’ ”
The idea of being not only curious about the fruits of the unknown, but wholly devoted to them, gives me the shivers. How brave…! Further into the book is a poem called “September”, which I cannot help but excerpt in light of my coming departure.
How I will miss this place!
“Here are some things to pray to in San Francisco: the bay, the mountain, the goddess of the city; remembering, forgetting, sudden pleasure, loss; sunrise and sunset; salt; the tutelary gods of Chinese, Japanese, Basque, French, Italian and Mexican cooking; the solitude of coffee houses and museums; the virgin, mother and widow moons; hilliness, vistas; John McLaren; Saint Francis; the Mother of Sorrows; the rhythm of any life still whole through three generations; wine, especially zinfandel because from that Hungarian vine-slip came first a native wine not resinous and sugar-heavy; the soudough mother, true yeast and beginning; all fish and fishermen at the turning of the tide; the turning of the tide; eelgrass, oldest inhabitant; fog; seagulls; Joseph Worcester; plum blossoms; warm days in January …”