Colby College, Maine

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View of campus dorm buildings from Dana lawn, during Great Books week
(ink, watercolor)

July 28th, 2017

This is my happy place, among many others. But this place is extra-special — where there is so much space and time to think about the books we have read, lift their words and passages into acute focus, listen to the voices of others’ thoughts, discover new things and ideas and possibilities. Everything about being here I love — the green of the trees, the glints of daylight on the ponds, the solitude of dorm life again, the diverse crowds of the dining hall, the clouds which seem painted onto the sky. The many and varied conversations one might have during lunch or dinner, all of the stories the older generations have to tell, the music concerts at the chapel on the hill, the films, art museum tours, lobster on the lawn! The feeling of my mind expanding to embrace so many of the things I love at once, my heart full to bursting.

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Cinematic

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Dated: 2/26/06

I’m going to make a movie someday. And in it – I can only see so well what will be in it. I imagine there will be much walking, the way people walk and think no one in the world is watching, or that everyone on the block is focused intently on the saddle of the hip, the length of the stride. The complete self-consciousness of one foot in front of the other, the skin of ankle exposed to sun. And I was thinking – there are certain people you have seen only at night, and could never imagine their skin touched by daylight: an aura would burst, crumple, or englaze itself around clothing as if you had never seen them in this way before. Without the tight smoke of night. And there will be the hot pressure of summer night and the rumble of the car on a green block, sweaty bands singing about departures and backseats. That was the summer I imagined to look back on, but that I never had – a white magnolia drenched summer with the lover’s lawn open and spread like a warm hand. A window and hair trailing wildly, I wanted that. And if only I had something more special to say, that only she wanted to listen to. Well there will be a road glistening with heat and the smell of wheat or barley, the smell of draught-dried grass hitting the face without apologies, without apologies. I guess maybe this was a song, a conglomerate of songs that were never truly listened to, because when you strip the music the words scatter and are left behind losing speed to the rumble of the engine. And maybe a movie will bring them back. The glaze of the screen will enshrine them in a dank way, the way old café lights look like how musk would smell. This must all be in it, everything I can see now. And there is not a moment to lose, not even a small one, not the second of crossing through the wet grass. Not the paper cut, the congregating birds behind the fence, the pluck that was so essential. There is a restaurant called pizzicato, you know. That was summer, too. And so was smoking in the heat under the big umbrella, watching the tourists pass and the midday go slow. There will be a church, yes, a place outside of our city, but not quaint. We were never quaint. It would be old and smelling of closet, the closets we played in between the open inside of the house and the sprawling dappled green that spilled from the brick stairs. Back and forth, crossing the empty hazy streets.

“Is this what you want?”

Your hands, I knew. And that will be in a movie, too, the way I saw them, the way I measured the distance between the centers of your eyes. Now I forget the number, but it isn’t important. The distance swept naturally across the points of brown, I followed the markings studiously. But how to remember these things? You were sitting on the couch, breathing. Your instrument was at your feet, a sheath of black.

No, we have to go back. You were sitting on the couch, breathing. You were breathing and did not know it, but I knew it.

Photo by Karen Christine Hubbard: Violin cases at Caras 


Summer Heart

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The curly tendrils of snow peas
snatch at each other
tentative and desperate,

how the heat goes under
when day descends into
dusk without once
looking back

chatter of watery French
the Quebecois girls snap stems
with rough fingers
my ears lulled to

inclinations within fields
of the mind, monologues of
black birds with red chests
that caw and fly up, up

the sun a round red balloon
balanced in the evening air
I am trying to hold it there
by some sleight of magic,

desire, or illusion
which are all one thing
Sandrine can tell time
by its angle in the sky —

8 o’clock and she is right,
and she jumps up with a
bright laugh, emblem

of all youth:
pea stalks in hand
blonde wisps floating