PRACTICING STRATEGIC CONTEMPLATION
1. Woman holds many balloons.
Felix (age 8?) is chastised:
“It reflects badly on you and on me. Like who wants to invite Felix?
And then, what kind of mother is she?”
Smear of a woman watches through an opaque window.
Enjoying the snow? “Enjoying a smoke!”
1A. balloon bouquet
you’re embarrassing me.
Enjoying the snow?
Enjoying my smoke.
2. I notice less, maybe?
“Too bad you’re not high.”
Feels like I might be.
Men chat companionably, black leather jackets, red hoodie.
Husky, 2-ton jack
Danger Men Working
2A. We talk a lot!
I plan a lot!
remember I told you I had a dream about honest
talking vs logistics?
I have a machine logic in my head.
this little script, easy enough,
can break through.
3. Juifs Pour Jesus.
Remember We Are All Made Of Dust, And To Dust We Shall Return
Canyon walls of brick apartments,
Single skein of razor wire.
3A. Cavern of walls I often slide through
Fakenews is built upon
denuding our dignified upstanding
neighbors simply because of
words. Frailty, varied taste.
The internet lets each speak but overrides
dignity of difference with other logics.
St. Paul Place
123 On The Park
“Our first hipsters.”
Bearded young man, small white dog:
“Then Natalie got married and moved to this tiny town.”
Fingers stiffen. Frosty air. Trees bare.
Not In Service
4A. I am often aware of you, I think.
But your hand in silence
feels like generous
Do I need direction to be free?
5. Park’s welcoming specter: tree skeletons – 30, 50, 70 feet high – interlaced against grey sky rippled with bruise-black cloud crests.
Ice skaters, scores, outline a rink while
Zamboni smoothes a second.
Smell of frying meat.
Whinging toddler strains at front of a stroller; stoic father, grey whiskered, miles back, pushes on.
5A. Places hold memories like a camera
or a computer.
My first summer visit to the Prospect Park lake
Brooklynites in colored glory eating foods of all places.
Winter skating fiasco that became perfect
walk with my teenagers.
6. Condom wrappers: Magnum, NYC.
Solitary smoker on a bench; downwind, we smell pot.
Rink sound system drifts: “You and I – never gonna be like them – gonna make it to the end – You and I.”
Swan on pond.
Croak-chirping, almost amphibian: birds, tucking in before the storm?
6A. I can remember holding my little children
with a sense memory better than
The body, my body, is this sort
of private truth holder
7. Snow --
-- gathers on my jacket --
-- ticks against leaves below, twigs above.
Across service road, through playground fence, glimpse of street.
Pages wet. Pen won’t write
7A. I saw you as an old man for a moment
walking beside me
it felt natural and somehow serene.
And suddenly my feet touched
The snow exploded too.
8. This break seems longer. Uphill. Time to stop?
Bikers and walkers stream steadily past us.
Skateboarder smartphone-films his snow-splashed descent.
Snow curtain thickens, perspective shifting with each streetlight: high lacy white shifts, in a step, to dense brocade through which we will reach center stage.
8A. The smartphone distraction comes too soon.
I want more quiet.
But I also like how the stop
makes a lock.
So much snow on my face
shattered and magnified by
I miss my son
when the world presents
Love and belonging and longing
are outside capitalism.
9. Thicker still: “These aren’t flakes. They’re rat kings.”
We steer from the street, bend north at a spot where the westward path always confuses me.
Metal abstract sculpture, 25 feet high, we’ve passed a dozen times and never seen – partner of one at a different park entrance we noticed just this week. Massive invisibility: not an effect the artist likely seeks.
9A. I observed nothing
we were talking.
We both remembered
drinking wine on a
blanket in the summer.
10. Snow falls green before traffic lights.
Enlaces shrubs, thin limbs – cherry?
Exit onto 9th Street. Park Slope.
We break the silence, discuss real estate.
10A. NY has seasons.
The Internet does not
a steady slog.
sky is dark
the city has interlocking quadrants.
Its architecture is visible
and speaks clearly its classed-raced-specificity.
Truth reeks from the walls
and the steps mothers take
with their beloved children.
11. Stop for a slice: 1:40 in, a mile yet to walk.
TV on mute:
Dead baby found in Astoria Park.
One to three inches expected.
Trump, Melania, somber, visit Florida.
Students, parents protest at anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale.
“Old Time Rock’N’Roll” Bob Seger Tom Cruise Rebecca De Mornay “Risky Business.”
Winter storm warning until 7 a.m. Sunday.
“I got a pepperoni pizza for my wife. Best trade I ever made.”
11A. My #100hardtruths-#fakenews project
tracked outside falsities
alongside my inner reactions
But not stimuli of the
earth and my body and yours.
12. We walk without pause. The world has returned: We look for restaurants to visit after our event. See real estate, not snow. Discuss couplehood, our certain divorce had our earlier selves met, summer travel plans.
12A. Inter-personal connections shimmer
ripple crumble and reconstitute
on streets where you stay present.
13. Time has bent, slowed, and sped, leaving an impression, oddly, of timeless transitions, one space to another, lasting a moment or an age, fixated on time, fixed in it, outside of it. We arrive: 10 minutes early.
By Gavin McCormick and Alex Juhasz