Learning

I stopped writing mostly. I am sliced-open and crawled-inside in love and it’s new and silly to write about. And what I’ve been reading lately is so small and far between, on buses when I’m on my own rarely. I’m back working all of daylight, even now that it’s spring, for just a while longer. A little cobwebbed and the happiest I’ve ever been.

Last year around now, when I was working all the time too, and someone I barely liked had said we should stop sleeping together which made me feel again like I’d been building little shacks I didn’t want for someone else to blow over, and wasn’t taking care of anyone. Now I’ve got these heavy shovels digging out a basement with most things I want to say too specific or numinous. This is maybe like cracking open a window, that I can redirect what’s been making its way directly to my chest and get back to a good way to know what I mean.  Air out some little things and move on.

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He said zinnia was “not a flower, it is a constellation of sounds. Don’t ever see beyond the word as a thing, but to another word.” He went on to say, “the extent to which you think writing is about something other than words then you will fail.” He also said, “If I can deprive zinnia of meaning and make it a feeling then I can control it.”

“You are not producing meaning. You are not communicating. You are making time.”

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-We should play a game.

-Okay. But not with moving. Not in this old bone house.

We sit and look at our hands.

-Swear, I swear they won’t get rid of the houses. They’ll just move them. And they’ll start digging tunnels and filling them up with pipes and sewage. What game, I guess. What next.

-Dad; Dad. I’m think I’m shrinking.

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All that would go here is perhaps too intimate.

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But every day we seem to learn new things about the ways our bodies live and die, about mirror neurons and somatization and proprioception and the wider-than-expected boundaries of ourselves, the ways we shape the universe and are shaped by it, the ways we are the universe. In some ways, we’re always at zero degrees of separation. If I watch Jason Kittelberger dance on his neck, or look at Maira Kalman’s picture of Pina Bausch being swung precariously close to the ground, or listen to Peter Wortsman read the gory ending of “An Earthquake in Chile,” it changes my own body.

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I read in the Wall Street Journal about broken-heart syndrome, that happens mostly to women, post-menopause. I am envious of science more than those people who have all the discipline I lack. Curled I like to imagine the space in between each beat its own distance, four feet, twelve, making up a nice little spot in that time where we can’t be damaged. And then science comes along and actually breaks a heart. While I’m learning all kinds of ways the world changes my body.

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Here’s one thing about Native American tribe names: the names we know them by are often the names they’ve were given by their neighbors. Cheyenne, for instance: it means red-talkers, something like “people of an alien speech,” because the Sioux people could not understand what they were saying. Learning not to call things by these names.

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The people who lived here before us

also loved these high mountain meadows on summer mornings.