Asking for Directions by Linda Gregg We could have been mistaken for a married couple riding on the train from Manhattan to Chicago that last time we were together. I remember looking out the window and praising the beauty of the ordinary: the in-between places, the world with its back turned to us, the small neglected stations of our history. I slept across your chest and stomach without asking permission because they were the last hours. There was a smell to the sheepskin lining of your new Chinese vest that I didn’t recognize. I felt it deliberately. I woke early and asked you to come with me for coffee. You said, sleep more, and I said we only had one hour and you came. We didn’t say much after that. In the station, you took your things and handed me the vest, then left as we had planned. So you would have ten minutes to meet your family and leave. I stood by the seat dazed by exhaustion and the absoluteness of the end, so still I was aware of myself breathing. I put on the vest and my coat, got my bag and, turning, saw you through the dirty window standing outside looking up at me. We looked at each other without any expression at all. Invisible, unnoticed, still. That moment is what I will tell of as proof that you loved me permanently. After that I was a woman alone carrying her bag, asking a worker which direction to walk to find a taxi. I paired this poem with this artwork by the incredible Nigel Van Wieck because as soon as I read it, his rich oil paintings of people on trains and my visit to his studio to see them upfront was all I could think about.
Other poems I enjoyed reading this week: (Click the links to read the full poem) "I missed him terribly, though I could hear his even breath and we had such long and separate lives ahead." -Supple Cord by Naomi Shihab Nye "Because he did not write yesterday, today he must write twice. Having switched on a lamp, he must turn on a second lamp. He must not waver in his intention lest he have to make a correction on the opposite side: a man who, having fallen on his left side must touch his right knee down to placate the forces of equilibrium."
"It is hard to pack for the rest of your life. Someone is always eating cold cucumber noodles. Someone will drop by later to help dismantle some furniture. A lot can go wrong if you sleep or think, but the trees go on waving their silly little hands."
"No one is exempt and everyone’s pain has a different smell.
At night when all the colours die, they hide in pairs
and read about themselves - in colour, with their eyelids shut."
Links of the Week:
Rilke on the Lonely Patience of Creative Work (Currently reading)
You feel like shit: An interactive self-care guide (please save this link and keep it saved for a bad day)