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I can hear July panting and shuffling, like a long-tongued and lush-coated Golden Retriever, at the door. Really? Already?

Summer has appeared strangely here, in fits and starts and stutters. Between chill and fogged-in days we’ll have a brave spurt of frightful heat, or entire hours of noonlike sun, but these seasonal parodies never seem to last. The next day, as before, there will be no sky.

I’ve loved this sheltered summer. I have not had to put away my sweaters, nor had to offer up my thin pale legs to be worried raw by the sun. Instead I’ve gotten to wander, raincoated and slow, through a shaded city, feeling the peculiar and deeply visceral satisfaction that comes from having the weather match one’s basic mood.

But now June is nearly gone, and I am left guilty with surprise, and hoping, guiltily, that the season will continue to be shy.


I spent most of today writing letters and hobbling pathetically–on a stubbornly injured foot–around the city with my new camera. The latter has proven an instrument too beautiful for words, and I am fighting not to fall any more deeply in love.

Both my parents are photographers. (I was given my first rangefinder at the age of eight; it remains one of the only things from my childhood that I still have in my possession.) To this day, it is impossible to spend more than an hour or so in the presence of either of them without being subject to some gasping interruption about light and an ensuing scramble for the nearest camera, or, worse, to realize the entire time you’ve been speaking they’ve been more concerned with shepherding you into a position better suited to shoot. It’s made me ambivalent, at best, about film: I love the art and beauty of photography, but I hate how convenient an obsession it is, and hate, with a passion, being on the other side of the lens.

(Given the latter fact, I am not sure whether it’s ironic or appropriate, then, that my favorite photographs are candids, and the sorts of moments I like best to capture are those of poignancy and unselfconscious engagement: whether the beauty of deep introspection or the rapture of the rest of the world.)

In any case, it’s been ages since I’ve seriously engaged with the art, and it’s both sweet and scary to find how naturally it still comes to negotiate the environment using exposure and film speed and light. I used to rail against my parents’ shared propensity to want to document the world, rather than engage with it; I worry, now, that I’ve inherited this trait.


Ah well. I still prefer poetry more; to me it demands more digestion, and reflection, and slowness, than the slap of a shutter, and I like how it almost necessarily happens after the fact. At the same time, there is something indescribably lovely about holding a camera again. I have a feeling I will not be leaving the house without this new beauty for some time.


Some days I wish I could put the whole world into a poem.

This is no different than wishing to be even a mediocre poet.


It is late, here, after midnight, although these days my own days are curiously contrived. I’ll stay up for twenty hours, and sleep for four, and then shift and explore the inverse. It’s a strange unmooring, and a sweet one, and there is a certain beauty to happy wakefulness at, and a witnessing of, the darkened expanses most prefer for rest. I’ve taken to walking, late; in the absence of light, thoughts are more easily glimpsed than things.

If I did not so love to dream, I’d wish to never have to sleep. The world is too precious and strange to escape, but then, so too is what happens on the other side, whatever and whenever that may be.


Some days I wish I could put the whole world into a poem.

This is no different, really, than wanting to die.

I don’t mean this morbidly, nor as implication. I mean only to say that the accomplishment of such would be so ultimate, and so pure, as to ensure the rest be only a happy and final sigh. Besides, the world changes too fast to capture. Besides, that poem would create only another whole, begging to be held, and happily, gratefully, I would wish the same wish again.


Some nights I imagine God as an overgrown toddler, waddling up proudly to display for our admiration a demented and unrecognizable painting, clutched between two grubby and ink-stained fat paws. Perhaps there is nothing wrong with the world, I tell myself. Perhaps it is merely that our God is not yet a child. Perhaps merely patience is called for.

Other nights, though, I imagine the opposite is true. It isn’t that God is dead, no, but rather that he has become so slow and doddering in his ancient and drooling senility that we have outpaced him. We have rushed into the future. We have been moving too fast. We have been scrambling desperately forward, but if we were only to sit down and wait for while, and to catch our breath while he hobbled arthritically closer, blind and wheezing and kind, we would not feel quite so helplessly lost.

Most nights, though, the naive child is only I, and most nights, it is only I peering through cataracts and ache at an ever faster and ever more glorious world. Outside I hear passing cars slowing echoing the surf, challenging the light of the moon. What did any of us do to deserve the sweetness of this earth? What did any of us do to deserve to lose it?