Tuesday, May 10, 2005

what today was and will be

Just when I think it is awful, it is over, a small thing happens. A penny on the track. Or the sky, colored chemical. Or this afternoon, sitting on the patio, drinking sweet nutty coffee from the brightest, purple earth-ware mug, streaked with blue.

Yesterday we had a picnic at Devil’s Den, high up on the boulders where the parks rangers wouldn’t see us. We ate sausage, and tomato and mozzarella sandwiches, and oatmeal cookies, and pie. The red dust clung to our blankets. I looked around and thought: this is something. Store this.

When does an event stop being an event and start being a memory, a file? While you are living it, do you pause?

The first time this happened was when I was twenty-two, after a Robert Creely reading at Georgetown University. We went to a French bistro, no longer there, and ordered escargot and red wine. The snails came with hinged tools, silver and tong-like, for snapping onto the shells and holding them while you pulled out the meat with tiny forks. The garlic, the white cloth, the waiters, the transvestite at the bar. Fiona Apple was playing.

Hang on this, I thought. You’ll want it later.

I am still amazed at the ability to make art from everyday life. What conjuring. What magic. What skills we have in composting, in turning eggshells into earth.

It reminds me of living in England, so poor I stole toilet paper. Yes, we did that, and we also dreamed big. We bought frozen, breaded turkey burger patties and served them with glass-jarred marina sauce and 50 pence pasta and pretended it was chicken parmesan. Everything was finer lit by wine.

So…broken windows in the red brick factory: where will you show up? Child in the stroller clutching a small dictionary: your time is coming.

World, wait for me.