Nostalgia

I found my alter ego
walking naked through the desert
wearing combat boots and carrying a laptop with a half dead battery.
She was sunburned and grinning
said, Have you seen these cholla spines?
before spinning in circles to mark out a labyrinth.
It was back then the beginning of the nineties
and rebellion hadn’t found the internet
or headphones or streaming
so read books and smoked weed
when not inhaling glues meant for home craft projects.
This was back before knitting was ironic
back when dialup was a connection
and the cool kids with money broke their ankles
on the way back from skiing.

Miss me? said my alter ego.
Take a closer look, squinting.
You never know what’s coming.
You never know what’s still there.

The flight I did not take

The flight I did not take
was the flight that left on time, pulling out of the gate
at eight-
-oh-five a.m.
precisely
no delay or pause, no need to hesitate and reboot navigation.

The flight I did not take
was the flight where I did not spill my coffee
halfway down the jetway
where the entertainment system was filled with music I didn’t know
but loved precisely.
It was the flight with attendants handing out
room temperature water
no ice
no slippery napkin
no pretzels
just chocolates and caramels and a chaser of strong black coffee.

The flight I did not take
was the flight with three cute babies
all giggling, none crying
and one tiny dog that escaped down the aisle
and stopped at my seat so I could pet it.

The flight I did not take arrived twenty minutes early
and my hair was not tangled
and I arrived at the train platform just as the train pulled up
and I stepped on and was whisked away to my much-loved far-away city.

The flight I did not take
led me to zero jetlag
to afternoon tea every day at four
to sunny and non-humid weather
to cheerful and collaborative work meetings
and plenty of free time.

After the flight I did not take, I slept well
and woke, refreshed,
in a new and different city.

Morning flight

This morning at the flats the tide was out
the earth remaining watery-grey
with long-billed sandpipers stalking, bending low
seizing what they found.
In the channel nearby the pelicans swooped
practicing crash-landings, legs stuck out before
webbed feet braced for impact.

I ran past stands of fennel and sage,
eyes squinted in the morning light,
my own feet kicking up gravel and dust.
I paused to watch the sandpipers sweep their beaks
left and right
in swivel motion with round bodies
mirrored in the slick mud they stood on.

Twenty minutes out, and fifteen back:
not much time required
for grace.

The remodel began last week

The remodel began last week
and all is tarps and chaos, splinters and dust
unanswered emails and dinner out.

In hundred degree weather the strawberries wilt
next to sprinkler lines I only just realized were cut.
In the early dusk I was bitten by a wasp
my feet up on the Adirondack chair’s footrest
on the the patio farthest from the house, a refuge from the heat.

It begins again tomorrow
and yet
I am pleased. After all this, it’s begun.

 

These Are the Cameras I Know Of

These are the cameras I know of:
in the City of London, throughout the alleys and courtyards and all of the streets –
so that on vacation, K asked, ‘do you think there are even five minutes of our day
that haven’t been recorded?’
and I said No,
while standing outside the house of Dr Johnson
admiring both the architecture and the statue of his cat
(there should be more statues of cats);
the camera in the satellite circling the globe that last photographed my house
sometime just before I bought it –
I can tell by the patio umbrella used in the purchase staging, a different color
from my own patio umbrella;
the cameras at traffic intersections
in my small suburban town;
the professional camera taking professional photos at the literary talk I went to last night;
the cellphone cameras of the audience members at the literary talk I went to last night;
the camera in the taxi in New York;
the cameras in Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv;
the immigration camera I looked into at customs
upon returning to California;
the camera on a neighbor’s drone
that last flew over my yard and others’ yards two summers ago
until another neighbor threatened to call the cops (or maybe until the grandson flying the drone got bored);
the cameras on the dashboards of cars on the freeway;
the cameras at what used to be the Golden Gate Bridge tollbooth but is now stand used for cameras taking pictures of license plates;
the cameras in the hands of many of the people I saw at the beach;
the cameras of the instructors at the standup paddleboard yoga class, because you never know which image will attract a new customer;
the camera in the sea otter exhibit at the Monterey Aquarium, because who doesn’t love sea otters;
the camera in the penguin exhibit also, because who doesn’t love penguins;
the camera sent down a volcano;
the cameras that recorded everything on YouTube;
the camera used by a surgeon
to diagnose a friend’s illness; the camera my colleague used to take a selfie of all four of us
because we achieved a day off sightseeing
at the end of a business trip far away from home;
the cameras used to record and document violence
and the aftermath of violence
and the discussion of violence;
the camera I used to take a picture of cherry blossoms
in a country not known for cherry blossoms;
the cameras in the conference rooms at work
used for videoconferences;
the cameras we see
and the cameras we don’t.

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