Wednesday, October 29

On Losing the Way, 1

Clementi in Yokohama

In some cities the streets and avenues change their names every few blocks, and the house numbers do not run in any particular order, unless it is some order based on chronology or numerology or magic rather than geography. When street signs are written in an unfamiliar script in an unknown language, the problem of finding where one is going is compounded even further. In Tokyo, of course, there are police boxes in many neighborhoods, there both to help strangers find their way to where they’re going and to help those who are too drunk to make it to their own doorways after a night on the town with their friends. As for me, I’ve gotten lost everywhere I’ve been, in practically every Mexican city or large town I’ve ever tried to drive through, in Tokyo neighborhoods unvisited by gaijin, where signs are only in kanji, or even in New York City, when I’d gotten on the wrong subway train or gotten off unawares at a wrong stop. In Mexico or in Bangkok, signs that are too small, signs that are hidden behind utility poles, store signs, traffic lights—none of these help. Nor does noisy, chaotic traffic swathed in the fog of exhaust fumes spewed from trucks and buses and cars alike. Of course, one good way to learn a city is to get lost in it, to wander around in it, wondering if a certain intersection was the same one you drove through fifteen or twenty minutes before but maybe from a different direction. Almost anybody is willing to help, naturally, even if they have no idea where it is you want to go or how to get there. No one admits to not knowing where anything is. It’s always just around the corner, or straight ahead a few blocks and then left or maybe right, or back in the direction you came from, perhaps even where you had passed it by without so much as a glance. In the suburbs of Yokohama, where you’ve gone to teach some kids after-school English when their math tutor’s done with them, you might in the dark after class find no one on the streets to ask directions of when you’ve lost sight of the bus stop you need to find to get home because you were listening to some kid at a piano in a house you passed by playing a Clementi sonatina you once, a very long time ago, knew by heart.

Wednesday, October 22

Paragraphs from Stein, 10

Patriarchal poetry while it was just as close as when they were then being used not only in here but also out there which is what was the thing that was not only requested but also desired which when there is not as much as if they could be while it can shall have and this was what was all when it was not used just for that but simply can be not what is it like when they use it.

fr. "Patriarchal Poetry"

Thursday, October 16

Poems from the Book of Nanoseconds, #45

from mid-afternoon until late at night,
too tiring for some of them